IDAHO FALLS – Good timing is often a critical element of one’s success in life, but for Brady Lawson and Aaron McGregor, the opposite seems to be true.
The Idaho Falls duo opened Hellfire Barbecue at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when meat prices were skyrocketing. It was originally a food truck in Rexburg, but it’s now a permanent storefront in Idaho Falls.
It opened in April at 645 North Holmes in the building formerly occupied by Tom’s Gyros.
Since its launch, not only has it been profitable, but Lawson says nearly every Google review has been a 5-star rating and they’re pleased with the response from the community.
“It seems like everybody who comes in has nothing but good things to say. We really haven’t had a negative response yet, that I know of,” Lawson tells EastIdahoNews.com.
The restaurant specializes in serving customers a traditional barbecue menu that includes spare ribs, brisket, turkey and sausage, with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese and creamed corn.
EastIdahoNews.com sampled the menu, which you can watch in the video above.
Both McGregor and Lawson used to live in Texas and opening a southern-style barbecue restaurant in eastern Idaho has been a dream for many years.
“When Aaron and I met, we both worked at Brigham Young University-Idaho and we started talking about barbecue and how we missed that … southern taste. So we planned it out from there and tried to make our dream a reality,” Lawson explains.
And the pair seem to be a good match because they each bring a different skill set to the business. Lawson has always enjoyed the southern atmosphere and it’s been rewarding for him to help recreate that experience for customers in eastern Idaho.
McGregor, on the other hand, has been cooking his whole life and describes himself as a “latch-key kid” in his younger days.
“When I’d get home from school, I’d have to cook myself dinner. I’ve always loved and enjoyed cooking, especially cooking for other people. The best part of my day is serving someone and (watching them out of the corner of eye enjoying it),” McGregor says.
They’ve experimented along the way to develop their own recipes and they’re hoping to continue to expand and develop it as they move forward.
There are multiple reasons why they liked the old Tom’s Gyros location, but the main reason is the amount of traffic and the visibility.
“The size of the building is perfect. It feels a little more friendly. It feels a little more inviting. I think that helps, too,” Lawson says.
They’ve considered opening another location, but for now, they’re just excited to be open for business doing what they love.
“It’s happening a lot quicker than both of us anticipated. It’s been a wild ride, but it’s working out. Where the future takes us, we don’t know. But we will be expanding (in some capacity),” McGregor says.
Hellfire Barbecue is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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