A new season for The Seasoned Brisket
The Seasoned Brisket had its last official day as a full-service restaurant on Friday, Sept. 9, but it’s not the end of the local family-style cuisine.
Annie and Tim McMahon opened The Seasoned Brisket, a barbecue-fusion restaurant at 1740 U.S. Highway 40 in Craig, five years ago. Starting this week, the family is shifting to a catering-only business with some other options in the mix.
Catering was always on the menu at The Seasoned Brisket, and it’s taken off to the point the family has been fielding several catering orders during the week when their restaurant was open to the public.
“The problem is we actually built two successful businesses, and we had to pick between that restaurant and catering,” Tim explained. “We had to make a choice. We don’t want to get burnt out, and it got harder and harder the more customers we got.”
To keep up, The Seasoned Brisket would have needed to hire more staff. However, the restaurant has always been family owned and operated, and Annie explained that if they were to hire more people to replace their children, it would take away from being a family-centered business.
Instead, transitioning into catering will allow the family to continue working together as a unit, while also giving them all a much-needed break during the week to have more time at home.
“I am really looking forward to being home more,” Annie said. “I have homeschooled the kids for most of their lives, so with being home and taking care of the home, I will be able to fully devote myself to our kids.”
Although the family has always worked in the business together — and the kids have been raised to work hard — this change could give them all a chance to spend more time together as a family. Tim said he is looking forward to actually having some days off with his family.
“You’re supposed to work hard and play hard,” Tim said. “We started to work way too hard and ended up not playing much.”
The McMahons have seven children, six of whom still live at home. Tim and Annie both said that one of the best things about running the business has been watching their children grow into young adults — and seeing them start to branch out in businesses of their own.
In turning their focus to catering, Annie and Tim will also broaden the food specialties they get to work on.
Tim said the catering is more versatile. They meet with clients and come up with a menu that will work for them. At the same time, grazing tables are Annie’s speciality, where she likes to get creative with complex palettes and unique features, such as chocolate fountains.
Tim’s love of cooking is what led the McMahons to own The Seasoned Brisket, and that is where his journey with barbecue started. Still, he said he has always loved to cook a variety of different foods.
The payoff from all their hard work may have been apparent in their last week of full-service.
Annie said they knew it was going to be busy — and they planned for that — but The Seasoned Brisket ended up doing double or triple the number of sales, oftentimes with lines going out the door.
“People were very gracious,” Annie said. “We made it clear we were going to run out, and most people expect that from a good barbecue place anyways, but people timed it to where they would come in early, which made the end of the day slower for us.”
Even with The Seasoned Brisket turning its focus to catering, some things will stay the same. The McMahons will remain in the same location and keep their existing building on U.S. 40.
They will still sell smoker pellets, spices and sauces in a small retail selection, too. If customers call a few days in advance, The Seasoned Brisket might also be able to accommodate large orders of smoked meats because the smoker will still be up and running for catering jobs.
Catering often has the family traveling with orders across a two-hour driving distance from Craig in every direction. As a result, all of the sales and retail offerings will require notice beforehand. Annie said she is planning to put a sign on the door with instructions for how to reach them.
Tim added that they would also like to open the restaurant once or twice a month for full-service dining. Being able to reopen the restaurant for dining will depend on the catering schedule, but the McMahons said they will let the community know a few days beforehand when they are able to do it.
For Tim, meeting and becoming friends with so many people in the community has been a high point of running the restaurant. The family has tons of stories about their customers and things those customers have done for the couple and their kids.
“From Day One, we’ve been really blessed by our customers,” Annie said.
More than anything, the family said they want to thank the community for all of the support over the years. Tim said they really love what they do and they’ve had a lot of fun doing it.
The McMahons are still fine-tuning some of the details of this next stage of their journey, and the best way to stay up to date is by following their Facebook page and Craig Community Chat.
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