When Dave Huitt started working as a restaurant dishwasher at the age of 18, he may not have known that that was the beginning of a life-long career in the restaurant business. Twenty-five plus years later, after working his way up to be a regional manager for corporate restaurants, Huitt decided to apply lessons learned along the way to open his own restaurant in downtown Martinez.
Smokey D’s Slow Cooked BBQ, which opened on Main Street this week, offers eight kinds of slow cooked meats, burgers, wraps, and an assortment of side dishes.
“Everything here is made from scratch,” Huitt proudly says. “Barbeque has been a passion of mine for the last 4 or 5 years…the smell, the aroma, I just started playing around with it in my backyard, and it grew from there.”
All of his meats are treated with a special dry rub and slow cooked for between 4 and 15 hours, depending on the meat. Side dishes -- including potato salad, coleslaw and beans that pack a smoky sweet spicy flavor -- were painstakingly developed and tested by friends and family, who were recruited to critique the recipes. The end result, Huitt says, “is a culmination of everybody’s efforts and opinions about my food.”
Now, his menu boards are up and his staff is trained, but there are still jitters among his newly hired crew. As a seasoned manager and trainer, Huitt is quick to jump in to smooth out any problems that arise.
“Obviously, it’s still a growing process, we’re still learning. But I think if you polled 99.9% of (our customers) they would all say they had a great experience and great food."
Smokey D’s is located in the heart of the historical downtown in Martinez on the corner of Main and Castro streets. The restaurant offers a casual atmosphere that includes seating both inside and in an outdoor patio. Plans for the future include beer and wine, live music on the patio and a catering service. Smokey D’s is open for lunch this week from 12:00 – 4:00PM and, starting next week, for dinner as well.