Wolfepack BBQ: A Labor of Love and Passion
The Journey to Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Location
Wolfepack BBQ, a Kansas City-based barbecue joint, recently opened its brick-and-mortar location in Columbus Park. However, the path to success was not an easy one for owner Jared Wolfe. Formerly an electrical automation salesman, Wolfe had always dreamt of a life spent next to a smoker, indulging in his passion for barbecue. With some knowledge of barbecue gained from judging competitions in his spare time, Wolfe decided to take a leap and pursue his dream.
To properly learn the art of barbecue, Wolfe embarked on a journey to barbecue meccas across America, such as Texas, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Along the way, he worked at various local joints, including Scott’s Kitchen, Jousting Pigs, and Fox & Fire, honing his craft and gathering ideas for his own venture.
In 2021, Wolfe started Wolfepack BBQ, initially serving his delicious brisket and pork at pop-up events hosted by local breweries like Callsign Brewing, Pathlight Brewing, and Fringe Beerworks. Finally, last year, he found a permanent home for his barbecue business in the former location of the North End bar and grill in Columbus Park.
Ambiance and Menu
Wolfepack BBQ‘s new establishment boasts an airy and bright space with a combination of wood, brick, and metal, reminiscent of the materials used in smokers. The indoor dining section can accommodate around 100 guests, while a garage door-enclosed patio on the building’s east side provides additional seating. A full bar inside offers a variety of local brewery taps, including Fringe and nearby Strange Days Brewing Co.
The menu at Wolfepack BBQ is straightforward but satisfying, featuring meat plates, sandwiches, St. Louis-style ribs, and an array of sides such as fries, street corn salad, and white cheddar mac and cheese. While the brisket burnt ends receive rave reviews from customers, Wolfe also recommends trying their flavorful and moist turkey, challenging the notion that turkey is always dry.
In addition to the regular menu items, Wolfepack BBQ excels in offering rotating specials and entrees that showcase the creativity and talent of the chefs. Some recent examples include a sweet potato Thai peanut salad and a walnut-crusted chicken breast stuffed with pear and Gorgonzola cheese, topped with a raspberry coulis drizzle and balsamic glaze.
Growing and Expanding
Although still in the process of hiring staff, Wolfepack BBQ is optimistic about its future growth. While awaiting city approval to serve alcohol on the patio, the restaurant currently operates from Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, Wolfe plans to expand the hours to include Tuesdays as well, anticipating a 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule in the coming months.
Wolfe’s vision for Wolfepack BBQ extends beyond just a successful business venture. He aims to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for families and individuals alike. In line with this sentiment, his daughter, who is now 12 years old, works at the restaurant on weekends. Wolfe wants his daughter and all customers to feel comfortable and at home when dining at Wolfepack BBQ.
A Reflection on Barbecue and its Significance
Barbecue holds a special place in the hearts and palates of many Americans, with various regions across the country boasting their unique styles and flavors. Jared Wolfe’s journey exemplifies the passion and commitment required to master the art of barbecue. By immersing himself in the traditions and techniques of different regions, Wolfe appreciates not only Kansas City barbecue but also the wealth of barbecue styles found throughout the country.
The story of Wolfepack BBQ serves as a reminder that the pursuit of one’s passion can lead to the realization of dreams. Wolfe’s dedication to learning, experimenting, and perfecting his craft is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals seeking fulfillment in their chosen field.
Editorial: Barbecue as More Than Just Cuisine
Barbecue is more than just a style of cooking; it is a cultural phenomenon deeply ingrained in the American identity. From the slow-smoking process to the unique flavor profiles, barbecue represents tradition, community, and a celebration of regional diversity.
The opening of Wolfepack BBQ‘s brick-and-mortar location is a testament to the enduring appeal of barbecue and its ability to bring people together. By offering a welcoming space where families can enjoy delicious food, Wolfe exemplifies the communal nature of barbecue. This sentiment mirrors the longstanding tradition of barbecue as a social gathering, where friends and loved ones come together to share a meal, stories, and laughter.
Moreover, Wolfepack BBQ‘s commitment to showcasing the talents of its chefs through rotating specials demonstrates the creativity and innovation within the barbecue world. While respecting the classic barbecue techniques, these new and exciting flavors push the boundaries of what barbecue can be, challenging stereotypes and appealing to a wider audience.
Advice for Entrepreneurs in the Food Industry
The story of Wolfepack BBQ provides valuable insights and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the food industry:
1. Pursue Your Passion
Jared Wolfe’s story shows the importance of following one’s passion. Identifying what truly excites and motivates you is the first step towards a successful and fulfilling entrepreneurial journey.
2. Learn from the Best
Wolfe’s dedication to honing his craft by learning from established barbecue masters in different regions exemplifies the value of seeking mentorship and knowledge from industry experts. Continual learning and improvement are instrumental in developing a unique and exceptional product.
3. Embrace Innovation
While respecting tradition, Wolfepack BBQ‘s rotating specials demonstrate the importance of embracing innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is considered traditional. Stay true to the core values of your cuisine while exploring new flavors and techniques to keep your business fresh and exciting.
4. Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
Wolfe’s emphasis on creating a family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Wolfepack BBQ highlights the significance of building a sense of community within your establishment. By cultivating an inclusive space where everyone feels comfortable, you can foster lasting relationships with customers and promote positive word-of-mouth.
5. Slow and Steady Growth
Starting small, as Wolfe did with pop-up events and collaborations, can allow for gradual growth and the opportunity to refine your concept before committing to a permanent location. Take the time to build a loyal customer base and establish your brand’s identity before expanding.
In conclusion, the story of Wolfepack BBQ showcases the power of passion, hard work, and dedication in the food industry. By staying true to his love for barbecue, Jared Wolfe has created a space where people can gather, enjoy exceptional food, and forge lasting memories.
<< photo by Min An >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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