SAN ANTONIO- It doesn't hurt to ask. Stanley Shropshire recalls he asked a property owner if he could set up a barbecue stand at an east San Antonio car wash.
"She laughed at me at first," said Shropshire. "Then, she said sure. Give me $25 a week."
Treating the spot like a business, he set up next to the vacuum cleaner on Martin Luther King Boulevard in the summer of 2000 to sell his smoky goods. The first week wasn't bountiful. He remembers selling two chickens.
But within three months, Shropshire started making a name for himself. "I became the barbecue man, the guy with the meat, the smoking guy. Every name you can imagine," said Shropshire.
He opened The Big Bib BBQ on Austin Highway. The name came to the 57-year-old from what he describes as a need when eating barbecue: A big bib. The place was 800 square feet with three tables inside.
It was primarily a catering facility with an inch or two for sit down space. But customers wanted inside in a big way.
He recalls a woman who walked in with a birthday cake one day. She wanted to have a birthday party with nearly two dozen guests. Clearly, there was a space issue. It didn't matter to the barbecue-hungry customers.
"About 15 minutes later I had about 20 ladies in there. They were putting up streamers, eating cake, ice cream, and barbecue."
The Big Bib BBQ has moved to 104 Lanark Drive where a team of people smoke brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and rib tips. They also whip up collard greens to the loaded baked potato (filled with turkey, brisket, baby back ribs or pulled pork.) His food is highly recognized and awarded by publishing food palates.
He's expanded his business to becoming a vendor at Alamodome events Shropshie even has a small event center next to his joint on Lanark for live music and parties. So, what's next? The moon?
"If they have a place up there and we can put a smoker up there," he said. "That's where we're going to be. On top of the moon."
Neighborhood Eats grabbed a plate of brisket, ribs, baked potato casserole, sweet potato casserole and peach cobbler. Que Rico!
We started singing "Love me tender" after effortlessly biting into the ribs. He's got four types of BBQ sauce: Bibs house sauce, hot & spicy, honey bbq and a tangy East Coast number.
Shropshire, a product of San Antonio's eastside, says he had a dream, focus and faith. He assures Neighborhod Eats the "Big Bib" was just the beginning.
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