Two Story City men, who have been catering together for years, have opened a barbecue restaurant that is open three days a week for lunch.
Rocke Rahfeldt and Dan Seitsinger are the Guys with Grills, whose business started from the barbecue at their popular tailgates.
“We actually got our start in tailgating. People would ask us to do events, and we turned them down for the first few years,” Rahfeldt said. “We do the Iowa State football games for ourselves, and it went from that to doing some graduations, doing some weddings to buying bigger equipment.”
The guys made the choice to start a restaurant site after the Rahfeldt family moved from one house to another.
“We had a commercial kitchen in the place where we lived. We had our regular kitchen, and then I had a 22-by-22-foot commercial kitchen off the back of the garage,” Rahfeldt said.
After that house was sold, Rahfeldt said they had to make a choice: stop catering, rent a commercial kitchen or buy a place.
They purchased the stand-alone building that used to be Peterson Paint and Floors. The entire building was remodeled to incorporate the commercial kitchen and dining room, which is decorated in flame orange, charcoal gray and black – colors inspired by the grilling and smoking process. The colors mimic the business' logo that was created by PDG Printing in Story City.
“Since we had the kitchen and had this space, we decided we would do it three days a week for lunch,” Rahfeldt said.
Both men have full-time jobs, Rahfeldt manages his father's construction business, and Seitsinger is the manager of Van Wall in Story City.
The response has been great, so far, Rahfeldt said. “We've had a soft open,” he said. “We literally haven't done any advertising yet. It's all just been by word of mouth and some postings on our Facebook page.”
Guys with Grills donates the meals to the Story City Greater Chamber Connection's annual golf tournament, and also handle a number of other community group's events. They cater all events, including graduations, open houses, weddings, receptions, meetings, golf outings and more. Tent rental is also available.
Guys with Grills BBQ & Catering, location at 204 W. Broad St. in Story City, offers lunches each week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant's phone number is 515-733-2026.
Brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches are about one-third pound each, and when the meat runs out, that menu item is done for the day. They can't just rustle up another smoked brisket if they run out — because those briskets take 18 hours to cook.
“We start with full briskets, 12 to 14 pounds each, rubbed with a simple mix of seasonings, then smoked for about 18 hours, “We start it about 4 o'clock in the afternoon the day before, then come in and foil it at about 4 in the morning. We slice it at 11 o'clock; we don't slice it any earlier than we have to.”
Meals are slow cooked but served fast.
“Once you order something, you have your food in a minute or two,” he said. “Because it's barbecue, we can't throw more burgers on or throw french fries down.”
One of the things that makes Guys with Grills brisket sandwiches tasty are the burnt ends, Rahfeldt said.
“On the brisket sandwich we serve, the flat of the brisket, we slice, and the point, we shred. That's what those burnt ends come from — it gives a lot of moisture and flavor,” Rahfeldt. Some slices and some ends are both included on the brisket sandwiches.
All of the side dishes are prepared in-house daily: baked beans, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad and crazy coleslaw (made with an oil dressing rather than mayo). In the catering side of the business, there are more than a dozen sides available, Rahfeldt said.
“One of our favorite sides are the cheesy potatoes,” he said. “We've had people eating here all six times we've been open so far, who have ordered the cheesy potatoes every time.”