People of Roots N Blues – Fontella Henry

Cameron+Baker%2C+Nan+Jones+and+Fontella+Henry+work+the+Big+Daddys+BBQ+food+truck+during+the+Roots+N+Blues+festival+Saturday%2C+Sept.+28.+Photo+by+Bailey+Stover.

Cameron Baker, Nan Jones and Fontella Henry work the Big Daddy’s BBQ food truck during the Roots N Blues festival Saturday, Sept. 28. Photo by Bailey Stover.

Bailey Stover

Fontella Henry, owner of Big Daddy’s BBQ, ran a food truck during Roots N Blues, and the business will have a food truck at RBHS during the College and Career Village where students can enjoy a variety of savory flavors.

How did you get into barbecuing? 

Cameron Baker serves Big Daddy’s BBQ to customers at the Roots N Blues festival Sept. 28. Photo by Bailey Stover.

“Well, we actually had a barbecue restaurant in 1985, and it was called Lloyd’s Rib House. My husband and I started that, and then his career took him other places that wouldn’t allow him to own a business. So we had to close that business, and I really don’t think he ever got it resolved or out of his bones because, gosh, 15 years later we saw food trucks out, and it was like, ‘Man, it looks so much fun to do a food truck.’ So we got a food truck, and then we passed by a restaurant one day, the one that’s at 1205 North Garth, we have a brick and mortar site there, and when we stopped there they were closing it, the business. That was the last day of business, so we just got in touch with the people and rented the place, and now we have a restaurant. And since then, we’ve bought a second food truck, so we have two food trucks and a restaurant because my husband didn’t resolve his dreams. So it’s taken off, and it’s doing very, very well. We like it, and it’s a whole lot of fun. I’m a retired Columbia police officer, too.”

How did you change from police officer to restaurant owner?

“My husband’s dream. It just seemed fun. And my family, I come from a family of barbecuers, too, barbecue owners in St. Louis, so it’s kind of like in my blood.”

What’s your favorite part of doing all this?

“The people you meet, and putting a smile on their faces and just having them come back and just the word of mouth. And just people that’ll come back and say, ‘I’ve been told that this is the place to come to,” or “This is the best here in town.’ So that’s the best part of it: just the enjoyment you give because when you give and when you get back like that, that’s totally just so humbling.”

What do you think is your favorite thing Big Daddy’s BBQ serves?

Nan Jones sits outside in front of Big Daddy’s BBQ food truck during the Roots N Blues festival Sept. 28. Photo by Bailey Stover.

“You know, we probably sell more pulled pork and brisket than anything, but my favorite is the pulled pork nachos.”

Why’s that?

“Well, you have a bed of chips, cheese, pulled pork, of course, or you could get it with chicken or brisket, and then it’s topped with the baked beans, the coleslaw, the jalapeños, the barbecue sauce. It’s just all those textures, the hots and the colds that just dance around your mouth. It just makes it so delicious.”

How did you guys decide to come to Roots N Blues?

“Well, this is our fifth year because it’s Roots N Blues [N] BBQ, so we do barbecue, so it was just appropriate. And we enjoyed it from the beginning, and this is our fifth year, and we just love it. It’s one of our favorite events because of the people. Because you get a mass amount of people in a little amount of time, and you get exposure. Because people that don’t know where you are will come and eat at your truck and find out you have a brick and mortar site and will come to you later or ask you to cater an event for them, so it’s just a way to grow the business and to meet more people, see more smiling people.”[penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”]Where is your favorite place to eat at Roots N Blues? Let us know in the comments below.[/penci_text_block]