“Barbecue found me,” says Gary Parker, the proud owner of BBQ2U, located right here in Gig Harbor.
Growing up, the native Texan—Central Texas to be exact—was surrounded by the aromas and flavors of authentic smoked barbecue. Gary recalls making fires with his dad and cooking at a young age. Texan barbecue was a staple in his life and continues to be today.
Gary, along with his family, made the move to Gig Harbor 22 years ago for his corporate career. One day, while smoking ribs on his back deck, he recalls his neighbor yelling at him: “Why is your deck on fire?” Long story short, Gary invited his neighbor over to try them. Soon after, he was hiring Gary to cater his son’s graduation party.
Over time, while still working his day job, Gary began picking up more catering jobs and in 2016 was working toward his retirement. His “little” side business of catering barbecues for people was more popular than ever. “It shows that the people here in the Northwest really appreciate great barbecue,” Gary says. Two years later, he would open the doors to his first restaurant—BBQ2U.
“After 30 years in the corporate world, opening my first restaurant was probably the toughest thing I’ve experienced in my life,” he says. “I was scared to death because I didn’t know anything about running a restaurant, but I was missing that world (of barbecue) that I had been in for so long. We opened this restaurant to have fun and to bring a little taste of Central Texas to the Pacific Northwest.”
Gary celebrated the restaurant’s first anniversary on March 2 of this year and is grateful for the support and success he has seen since day one. “It has been awesome, and we’re growing like crazy,” he says. “Being a new restaurant with a non-experienced restaurant owner, we’ve done really well and the restaurant is going strong.”
At BBQ2U, they smoke seven different meats in-house (brisket, beef rib, pulled pork, St. Louis spare ribs, chicken, smoked turkey breast and sausage) each day and sell it by the pound. Whether you choose to dine in our take out, you’re sure to experience the best Texas barbecue outside of Texas.
“There’s grilling, and then there’s barbecue,” says Gary. “At BBQ2U, we cook authentic Central Texas-style barbecue only using wood-fired pits and following the methods that have yielded great barbecue for over 100 years. It creates a flavor profile you won’t find anywhere else.”
Gary takes pride in honoring the traditions of barbecue, even importing all his wood from Texas and using pits that are designed in Texas and shipped to Gig Harbor.
When it comes to what Gary finds most rewarding about the work he does, he says it’s the happiness that barbecue brings to people and giving them a taste of home. “I have had people come in here and literally break down,” says Gary. “Many of these folks have lived in the south, gotten used to the food and really miss it badly. I feel so humbled. Those things are truly memorable.”
Currently, BBQ2U provides catering both on- and off-site. They can host 50 to 60 patrons at the restaurant and can cater for up to 300 people for events off-site including corporate events, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, family reunions and any special occasion.
When it comes to what the future holds for BBQ2U, Gary sees the restaurant growing twice the size and is looking at multiple levels of expansion.
If you are looking for a taste of Texas here in Gig Harbor, BBQ2U is ready to serve you the best in traditional, flavorful, unmatched barbecue. Open seven days a week, Gary invites you to dine with them 11am to 8pm.
4814 Point Fosdick Drive NW
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335