Takeout Tuesday - Ol'Chefskis BBQ
This week, we head to Aurora, where a roadside barbeque shack was about to become a permanent brick-and-mortar outlet until the pandemic hit.
So the owners opened a food truck and parked in the lot of the still-unfinished restaurant, which sits on a former golf course, just off Route 82.
Ideastream's Rick Jackson spoke to Jason and Grace Olszewski about the conversion, the struggles, and the results.
"That's all your sides -- and your slabs... total's going to be $84, please."
"My name is Grace Olszewski. Me and my husband Jason own and operate Ol’chefski's BBQ, which is located at 15 Trails End in Aurora. We started out in 2016 in a roadside shack, which was a shed that we transformed and licensed it as mobile foods. That was our main goal in the beginning was just to food truck it through the summer and work it out seasonally, and then once we outgrew that it made sense to go year round."
'you gotta pre order?' "Yeah, you gotta call in to guarantee a spot a day in advance." 'OK' "Do you want a menu?" 'yeah, I'll take one home..'
"Yeah, I mean this kinda worked out for us, cause the brick-and-mortar isn't ready yet. We're still about a month out from opening that up, so we just went back to roadside bbq, and that's exactly what we know and what we're good at."
"It's given us the ability to keep low overhead, and with the pre orders and curbside take out it gives us an aspect to the day as to what's going to sell and what we're buying for the day - so we're really not overextending ourselves and trying to keep a full line in, and it's been a lot of adjustments trying to keep the daily totals to the positive."
"Wednesday to Sunday, we're doing pre orders only." 'OK' "Different menu each day, so just call in a day ahead and then" 'awesome' "pickups' between 3-6."
"I think the biggest transition is being able to accommodate our customers still. We had to shorten up our menu daily, but we do a different option each day to kind of break it up and keep people coming back. We have a few families that place orders like three nights throughout the week, and they're able to do that because one night we have tacos, one night we have pulled pork, and we have ribs on the weekends."
“Hi…(dog barking) ...Hey, shuttup…”
"We're right here on the community park, and the foot traffic in the neighborhood alone is probably enough to sustain us - but people have just been amazing...
"I wish we could get more food. I think our biggest problem right now with the pork industry closing and being shut down - prices are skyrocketing as far as meats go right now and the supply is dropping, So on a normal weekend when we could do 50-60 slabs a day... that's being cut in half."
“…I mean, we've been able to actually do a lot of donations and help out a lot of people in need right now... just kind of trying to pay it forward as the community does to us."
"Alright, total's going to be $20 - be just a few minutes." ok'' "Thank You".
"Some days I'll get 35 people that just swing through just to say high. You know it gets a little difficult to get things done but we still take the time to stop and talk to everybody and let them know we appreciate em." :09
"We want everybody to be safe, ourselves as well as our customers, and if this is the way we have to do it for another month or two, so be it - we'll get through it."
"it's kind of a heckuva time to spend your life savings to open a restaurant...heh, heh, heh."
Jason and Grace Olszewski - owners of Ol'Chefskis BBQ in Aurora.