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Give Where you Live

Gary Parker's BBQ2U: A recipe for community engagement


Give Where you Live by BBQ2U

Photo by Lauren Oliver Photography

By Paige Schulte

In the bustling landscape of business, where profits often take precedence, it's refreshing to encounter individuals like Gary Parker, owner of BBQ2U, who go above and beyond in giving back to their community. Gary isn't just serving up delicious Texas barbecue; he's also dishing out generosity and goodwill, setting a remarkable example for businesses everywhere.At BBQ2U, it's not just about the savory ribs or the smoky pulled pork. It's about fostering a sense of community, about ensuring that everyone feels the warmth of belonging. Gary’s commitment to community engagement isn't a mere marketing tactic; it's a genuine reflection of his values and his desire to make a positive impact.

Located in the Uptown area of Gig Harbor, BBQ2U is known by locals as “the place” to go for authentic Texas barbecue. Gary grew up in Texas and relocated to Gig Harbor after retiring from Intel Corp. The menu includes Southern-style pork ribs, beef brisket, incredible sides, and more. In addition to amazing food, the staff is friendly and kind.

Inspired by his grandma, who gave back relentlessly, Gary is known for saying “Yes” to our area seniors, youth and local authors — not only giving monetarily by sponsoring events but hosting community-building events. He hosts weekly movie nights for seniors at the local theater, Bingo at his restaurant, and brings in local authors to sell their books at no charge. You’ll see him at City Council meetings advocating for different groups and providing valuable input. Gary recently launched his own nonprofit and seeks to continue doing great things for our city.BBQ2U is always at the forefront of community initiatives. During the COVID era, Gary was one of the first to start delivering food to the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation that supported seniors who needed an extra hand. He understands that businesses have a responsibility beyond profit margins —they have a duty to uplift and support the communities that sustain them.

His dedication to giving back serves as a reminder that businesses have the power to be forces for good, capable of effecting positive change in the world around them. Gary has shown up consistently, and his customers see that too. He has been named Citizen of the Year by the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce and, more recently, South Sound’s Citizen of the Year.

As Gary continues championing community engagement through BBQ2U, he hopes to inspire other businesses to follow suit. After all, the recipe for success isn't just about profit margins and market share — it’s also about the lives you touch and the communities you uplift. Gary’s BBQ2U isn't just about serving barbecue; it's about serving the greater good. And in doing so, he's proving that the most flavorful businesses are those seasoned with compassion and generosity.

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