November 11th is Veteran’s Day, however I am of the mindset that EVERY day should be Veteran’s Day. That is why I am going to build upon this post as often as I can to highlight every BBQ joint owned or operated by veterans. This is just a start.
As most know, veterans aren’t always apt to publicizing the fact that they served, so this has taken some digging at times, but I feel it’s necessary for them to be noted and most importantly for us to visit them.
Where I could, I was able to get the the rank, tour of duty, where stationed, etc. and if I was lucky I was able to get some photos from their time in service to the nation. PLEASE be sure to visit these establishments when you are in their area. I know they would appreciate it.
Jeffrey Nicoletta – Bubba’s Smokehouse – La Jolla
- United States Navy Veteran.
Gabriel H. Navy – Holliday’s Barbecue – San Diego
Jeff Fitchett – Magilla’s BBQ – Whittier
- “I am a former Marine and served from 1989-1995 in 5th Battalion 14th Marines. I served as the Survey Section chief for Headquarters Battalion in direct support for Artillery Firing Battalions. My unit was based out of the the old Long Beach Naval shipyard which is no longer there (man I’m old) and Twenty nine Palms is primarily where we actively trained. My family has a long history of serving in the armed forces going as far back to the civil war.”
- “As far as veteran organizations we support, we support as many as we can in various ways. From providing meals to veterans each year to supporting veteran and LEO owed businesses. But aside from bbq one of the things I am proud of is serving youth which my wife and I have done for over 20 years. I’ve mentored many young men through vigorous outdoor experiences teaching them how to backpack, fish and shoot. This aside from serving BBQ and raising my kids has been a lifelong passion that has been very fulfilling. Thanks for thinking of us and our small humble bbq hustle.”
Daniel Lanigan – Pig Rig BBQ – Wallingford
- Army scout.
Stephan T. Nedwetzky – Pit Commander Barbecue – Naples
- Marine Corps veteran. I recently moved to Bonita Springs, Florida from Plano, Texas. I lived in north Dallas, Texas for 40 years before uprooting and moving my family and businesses to paradise in Naples, Florida.
Phil Robas – The Rib Shack of Navarre – Navarre
- “I was a TACP (ROMAD) in the United States Air Force. I served in Desert Storm Desert Shield. I still support my fellow military and TACP brothers. I served in Korea, Germany, Afghanistan and many other areas during my time in services.”
Gabe Golub – Ricewood: A Barbecue Joint– Ann Arbor
- Spc, Army. Fort Hood, Texas.
Matt Brooks – Charlie’s Pride BBQ – Kansas City
Dan Misuraca – Red White & Que Smokehouse – Kearny
- “I was a lance corporal in the USMC. I was stationed in Camp Pendleton California and did a tour of duty in Kuwait. We have a charity at our restaurant called “Buy A Vet a Meal” program where customers donate to the program and we feed veterans in need.”
James Odell – ODBQ – Ambridge
Bruno Thigpen – The Southern Yank Smokehouse – Washington
Anthony DiBernard – Swig and Swine – Charleston/Summerville
- “United States Navy Submarine Force. MS2 SS. USS Batfish SSN 681. Gulf War / Operation Desert Storm. Folds of Honor. Palmetto Veterans Group. Stationed in Subron 4 out of Charleston SC 1990-1994.”
Chris Clarabut – 2 Guys 1 Pit – Tomball
- I was an Airman First Class in the Air Force. I was medically discharged early on from a back injury so I never did any tours.
James Crawford – Band Of Brothers BBQ – Killeen
- “I appreciate you reaching out. I, James Crawford, was never active duty. I was State Dept. My business partner, she is retired Army, now DOD employee, if you still would like to do a piece on us I would gladly get all the info for ya. Myself, I deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan spanning about 8 years and not exactly sure on my partner’s career. We support a couple different veteran non profits to include Over the Edge Outdoors and Operation Phantom Support. The local news does a good job of confusing myself as a veteran vs my partner … so I apologize. I just like to set the record straight when people ask. Business parter Cheri Shea: 26 years Active Duty Army and Reserves. Retired Sergeant, Desert Storm Deployment.”
Bill Dumas – Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue – Pflugerville
- I am a US Marine. “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” Corporal Dumas1st FSSG; 7th Mtbn; Trk Co.; Camp Pendleton, CA. 1986-1990. I support The Wounded Warriors Project
*Bill is 4th Row – all the way to the right.
Chef Mark Sierra – Compadres Hill Country Cocina – Boerne
- “US Army Specialist OIF 07-08 OIF 09-10 Stationed at Ft. Lewis 4th Brigade 2-1 CAV COBRA TROOP 13F FIST And I am president of Task Force VOSBO(VETERAN OWNED SMALL BUSINESS ORGANIZATION). We are a nonprofit 501 c3 Our goal is to promote other small veteran owned businesses around our community, and state. We try and help them with resources that will help their businesses grow, or provide capital for start up. We also take on different causes in our community that will help in fund raising or benefit families in need. You can find us on Facebook, Task Force VOSBO. You can also find us on YouTube with some of the stories we’ve been featured on (Compadres Hill Country Cocina) All you need to know about how we started is in those featured stories.”
Jim Buchanan – Doziers Barbeque – Fulshear
- “Staff Sergeant (SSG), United States Army; Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia; A few of my favorite veteran’s organizations are Gideon’s 300, Camp Hope, and Lone Survivor Foundation.”
Patrick Feges – Feges BBQ – Spring Branch/Greenway Plaza
- “I was a Specialist in the Army. I was stationed in South Korea, near the DMZ. I was also stationed at Ramadi, Iraq, which is where I received my Purple Heart. Camp Hope is a great veteran charity.”
- There is also a detailed thread on Twitter HERE that Patrick put together recently that vividly describes his injury in Iraq.
- Every Veterans Day (and, honestly, every day), I remind myself how lucky I am because the odds were against me coming home. I’m so grateful to the people who served with me that sacrificed everything for me.
- We always offer veterans a 10 percent discount when they dine at Feges BBQ, they dine for free every Friday at Feges BBQ Greenway Plaza, and on this Veterans Day, November 11, we’re inviting all veterans to eat for free at both of our locations. Our friends at Austin Eastciders are providing complimentary cider and seltzers all day at both of our locations on Veterans Day, too.”
MSgt. Isabelo Jon Garcia – Godspeed BBQ – Bedford, TX
- “USAF Retired Active Duty, Reserves & Texas National Guard Served a total of 28 years. Tours of Duty: Panama, Puerto Rico, Africa, Columbia, Argentina,Spain, Italy, Azores, Cypress, Okinawa, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, UAE and though out US Military Bases and Forts In 1994, while serving in Africa, I met a small group of civilian doctors helping children with cleft conditions. Since then, I joined and always support the charity Operation Smile and would encourage anyone who uses Amazon to join and purchase thru Amazon’s Operation Smile webpage. It’s identical to the regular webpage, however at no additional cost to you, Amazon donates a portion of their profits to the Charity. I encourage everyone reading this to help.”
Joe Espinosa – Primos Taco House – Pasadena
- “I was in the Navy from 90-94 and served a couple years in the USS San Jacinto which is a guided missile cruiser (CG-56) and is still in service. I got out of the navy as a E-5 or petty officer second class and my rate was electronics technician (so I was an ET2 upon my discharge) I did a couple long deployments while on the San Jacinto including a 6 month cruise in which we circumnavigated South America and a 3 month deployment in the Baltic Sea. We also did numerous counter narcotic operations in the Caribbean. Our restaurant has a very strong partnership with the Battleship Texas Foundation. Their address is to preserve the USS Texas which is the last remaining Dreadnought in the world and served in WWI and WWII We have a great mutual relationship with them – they frequent our restaurant and we try to support and promote their cause as much as possible. We are also in the process of developing a non profit group made up of local San Jacinto vets in the Houston area that would aim to assist local vets with an outreach program with assistance and support from our restaurant.”
Sheldon Mason – Director of Operations at Miller’s Smokehouse – Belton
- “I was a Master Sergeant MSgt in the Airforce. I spent my whole career in Great Falls, Montana at Malmstrom AFB.”
Marc Smith – Patriotic Pig – North Richland Hills
- “A Houston Native and 75th Ranger Regiment Veteran. Turned a hobby into a job. #51 on the Texas Monthly Top 50 Best BBQ Joints! I served in the Army for 4 years and left at the rank of Specialist. After completing my bootcamp at Fort Knox and my advanced training at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, I was sent overseas to the 1st Armored Division in Germany. My MOS was 45G (Fire Control Specialist) and I worked on M1 Abrams tanks and Bradleys. I also ended up cross-training into Small Arms repair working on pistols, rifles and machine guns. In 1996, I was deployed to Bosnia for pretty much the entire year and ended up manning a 50-cal machine gun mounted on an armored personnel carrier driving up and down the streets of Bosnia acting as a police force. It was freezing cold and we didn’t shower for the first two months while we were over there since they hadn’t brought them over yet. One of my best memories was trading MRE candy for fresh-baked bread with the local kids. When my time was up in Bosnia, I flew back to Germany to round up my stuff and spent my last 7 months at Fort Stewart, GA. I was so ready to get back to Texas, I got pulled over in Alabama for speeding. I told him that I just got out of the Army and he let me go with a warming.”
- “After I got out of the Army, I went into computers. I got Microsoft Certified and worked in IT as a Senior Systems Engineer for 15 years before switching to BBQ. It was just going to be a side gig. The name Patriotic Pig was created as a way to show our support for veterans and we wanted to help veteran groups raise money through BBQ. The pig in our logo is even rocking a Grunt Style shirt. We started out as a wedding caterer and now we’re going to cater 500 weddings this year. We opened our restaurant on 4th of July weekend in 2019. During the grand opening, we flew the founder of Operation Turbo down from Virginia to Texas to be a part of our opening and donated a portion of our proceeds for that day to her cause which is sending “Boxes of Home” to deployed troops overseas. Many generous Texans also donated to her directly with additional cash donations. She flew back with almost $4,000. Since our opening, we’ve used our food truck and worked with groups like Cowtown Warriors and Valor Ranch to either feed veterans, feed people who are supporting veterans, or to help them raise money through our BBQ sales. In Nov 2021, we’re participating in a free wedding for a disabled veteran with many other amazing wedding vendors. COVID put a strain on our veteran donations budget but thanks to everyone who’s supported us, we’re also able to donate all the food and staff for the Make-A-Wish Wranglers & Wishes event on Nov 18th at River Ranch Stockyards. It’s not for veterans but it’ll be rewarding to be a part of lifting the spirit of kids who are struggling with critical illnesses.”
- “I love cooking BBQ. But I really love taking our food truck out to veteran events, meeting other veterans, feeding them and thanking them for their service. That’s my happy place.”
Michael Michna – Reveille Barbecue Co. – Magnolia
- “I was in the Marine Corps from 2000-2004. I was aviation ordnance and built rockets and missiles for the helicopters. I was deployed to Iraq in 2003 for the initial invasion. I was everything south of Bagdad. I’ve also been a firefighter for Houston since 2005.”
Russell Roegels – Roegels Barbecue – Houston
- “I was in the Air Force, highest rank was Staff Sergeant. My first permanent party base was Maxwell AFB in Montgomery Alabama Next was Anderson AFB in GuamThen Al Kharj in Saudi Arabia Last permanent party base was at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and a little remote base that didn’t have a name on Antalya Turkey for 4 months. Also did a quick 2 week tour in Osan, Korea. I don’t have any specific veteran owned businesses I like to support. I like to support them all.”
- See this quote HERE from Russell for a look into the true meaning of being a veteran.
Steven Wayne Rossler Jr. – Rossler’s Blue Cord Barbecue – Killeen/Temple
- “SSG(R) ; U.S. Army Infantry – 20 1/2 years. We always love to team up with Fire Base Brewing Company in Temple, TX. Owners JD McBride and Stacy Zemp, both are Veterans.”
Vencil Mares (November 10, 1923 – November 24, 2019) – Taylor Cafe – Taylor
- “Vencil served bravely as a medic in the 102nd EVAC unit that landed in Normandy in the Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Bronze Star, an award for meritorious action, for serving in five battles. He never forgot those that were lost in combat. He was so very proud of his oldest great grandson that followed in his footsteps and is an Army medic, SPC Kyle Mares. He opened Taylor Café in 1948 and was an icon in the barbeque world.”
Frank “Trey” Felton III – Thorndale Meat Market – Thorndale
- United States Air Force and still flies planes for fun.
Patrick Fisher – Mason Dixon BBQ Co. – Moundsville
- “Raised on a farm in Marshall County, WV, Patrick Fisher grew up surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Mason Dixon. Patrick is a combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan. After proudly serving 6 years in the United States Army he enrolled in West Liberty University College of Business and created Mason Dixon Barbecue Company. Since 2013, Patrick has been smoking his own brand barbecue featuring his homemade Mason Dixon barbecue sauce.”
Mission BBQ – A dozen locations. Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and Florida.
- MISSION BBQ opened its doors for business on September 11, 2011. Ten years after our world changed forever, in some small way we wanted to change it back. As the founders of MISSION BBQ, we strive every day to remind everyone what makes Our Country great—its heroes. Who are we? Two friends passionate about BBQ, patriotic for Our Country, and who believe in running a business with meaning and purpose. We believe there is nothing more American than BBQ. And nobody more American than the brave men and women who have sworn to protect and serve Our Communities and Our Country. We do what we do for the love of our soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders—all our loved ones in service. We set across this great land from Texas to Kansas City, the Carolinas to St. Louis…to discover the secrets of great BBQ. Every day we strive to serve you authentic BBQ made from the freshest, most delectable ingredients, and serve it to you in a patriotic dining room filled with tributes to those who’ve made Our Country great, given to us by the people who earned them. Stop by at lunchtime, and you might catch us during our daily salute to the Stars and Stripes. We don’t do any of this because we have to. It’s because we want to. At MISSION BBQ, we are Proudly Serving Those Who Serve. Come help us complete Our Mission.