Red, White & Que Smokehouse Provides Veterans with Jobs
Dan and Katie Misuraca, Co-owners of the Red, White & Que Smokehouse in Kearney, New Jersey, discuss how their barbeque hobby turned into a business and an opportunity to provide employment to veterans adjusting back into civilian life.
"Welcome back. What do you get when you cross a veteran with a barbecue joint? Red, White, and Que Smokehouse. That according to its Co-Owners Dan and Katie Misuraca. Welcome to the program, both of you. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks for having us. So you're a veteran? Yes. And you both run a barbecue joint? Yes. Yeah we do. Red, White, and Que. Katie, tell us how it started. So years ago, when we bought our house, we had a beautiful backyard that was in our house, and I bought Dan a smoker as a housewarming present, and it kind of started from there, and escalated into a crazy hobby, and Dan is an obsessive-compulsive hobbyist. I've never heard that before. Yeah! [laughter] It's the truth. So he would really get into it, and the smokers just got bigger and bigger and bigger, and at some point, we kind of just said to ourselves, after working retail for ten years, working for somebody else, said, "You know what? Why don't we do this for ourselves?" Like, we know how to run a business. And, like, our friends tell us we make good food. So maybe people... Free! [laughter] Yeah! Maybe people will buy it! And then it kind of went from there. We found a tiny little spot, we found it on Craigslist, and this was our dream, to start our own business and work together. That is definitely the short version. Yup. Really quickly, how did you meet Katie? And how did you know you were never gonna let her go? [laughter] Well, we met over a glass of bourbon. Yeah. [laughter] In New York City. We both worked for Journeys shoes, and we met at a manager meeting, and then we went and had a drink after, and I knew that we would be together forever. You had recently left the Marine Corps, you served four years in the United States Marine Corps. You got into this hobby... I love "OCD hobbyist..." [laughter] I love that term. At what point did you know, like, this is something, you know, it's kind of different than what you've been doing, you go from the Marine Corps to shoes, now thinking about running a restaurant, what skills translated for you into being able to run that restaurant? Well, we knew going into this, we really gave great customer service. We love dealing with people. So us going into our game plan was, let's just be super friendly, be ourselves, you know, be accommodating, and just pretend like it's our backyard and we're having a party, and just have... make sure everyone has a great time. So why barbecue? I know..."