Ross, known as Grandpa, is the owner of Grandpa’s Grub, the latest restaurant to catch East County’s eye and tempt its taste buds, serving chicken, ribs, hotlinks and catfish like you’ve never tasted before.
“We’ve received nothing but good reviews,” Ross said. “There aren’t any barbecue places around here in this area, but the demand is here. People seem to love it, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Although Ross has been cooking since he was 8, he never thought he’d own his own restaurant. But after volunteering at a church fundraiser, selling his barbecued meats for charity, he realized that barbecuing could be more than a hobby – it could be a business.
For years, Ross has been told that his barbecue is the best around, but after the fundraiser, the feedback was overwhelming and he decided to give the restaurant business a try, opening Grandpa’s Grub last December. Customers have been flocking to the restaurant as word-of-mouth praise is grabbing everyone’s attention. But in some cases, people just follow their noses.
“I had a guy come in a while back who said he was getting ready to mow his lawn when he smelled the smoke from the barbecue,” Ross said. “He put the lawnmower away and came down to the city park, thinking there might be an event where he could buy some food. But he didn’t see anything, so he walked down a little farther, and his nose led him right to us. He didn’t get his grass cut that day, but he said the food was worth it.”
According to Ross, the key to good barbecue is creating the smoke and smelling the meat as it cooks. He keeps his smoker between 250 and 300 degrees and cooks the meat so that it falls right off the bone. He cooks the ribs for up to two hours, chicken for an hour, and hot links for 30 to 45 minutes. The catfish is cooked in the fryer. Sometimes he runs out of meat and has to wait for more to cook, but some of his loyal customers will hang out and wait until the meat is ready. “People tell me it’s the best barbecue they’ve ever tasted,” Ross said. “I’ve always enjoyed it, so I’m glad that other people love it just as much. I feel blessed to share my cooking with everyone.”
Ross said he’d like Grandpa’s Grub to be more than a restaurant, but a “lighthouse” for those in need. Ross, who has a past history of drug use and gang relations, dedicated his life to Christ 14 years ago, and since then, he’s done whatever he can to support charities and help the less fortunate.
“I don’t like to reheat the meat the next morning, so at the end of the day, I take whatever we have left to the church down the street so that they can use it to feed the homeless through the Loaves & Fishes program,” Ross said. “Sometimes we’ll see people walking down the street who look like they haven’t had a good meal in a while, and we bring them in and give them a free meal. This is more than a business. We want to help the community.”
Grandpa’s Grub, located at 900 A St. in Antioch, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 925-755-4BBQ (4227).