Smokin’ G’s BBQ, Marshalltown, Iowa
An Interview with Kim Gratopp, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jerry
Smokin’ G’s BBQ Restaurant and Catering is centrally located in downtown Marshalltown. Beginning as a home-based catering company in 2008, the business expanded to a family run restaurant in 2014. Fans can enjoy their professional catering services for special events, or stop by the restaurant anytime!
How did you get involved in cooking? Could you describe your career path to your job now?
I began my food service experience in high school working for a restaurant in Marshalltown. I started as a server, hostess, bus person, and eventually moved into the catering sector of the business. I left food service when I began my family. As our children grew, I went back to school to earn a degree and worked for the East Marshall School District and Marshalltown Community College/Iowa Valley Community College District before deciding to return to food service.
Jerry and I loved to entertain and cook for family and friends. One of our friends asked us to cater an event for him and from there the phone calls came in, and we decided to pursue the catering business. A few months later we had an industrial-licensed kitchen in our home and that is where Smokin’ G’s BBQ got started.
The small commercial kitchen served its purpose for 6 years as our business grew. We had the opportunity in 2013 to purchase a business in downtown Marshalltown and decided that we would try our hand at operating a restaurant and catering business. We just celebrated our first year as a restaurant and our 7th as a catering company. We are very blessed to have the support of family, friends, and community to continue our growth.
We are often asked what the “G” in Smokin’ G’s stands for. It stands for Gratopp, our last name. This has been a family business from the start. My in-laws Janet and Gary, Jerry’s brother, Ken, and all our family support has made this journey possible. We currently employ six family members through the restaurant and catering. With opening the restaurant in April of 2014, our family has expanded. Our staff is wonderful and without them none of this is possible.
What kinds of meals do you serve? How do you meet the special needs of your customers?
Smokin’ G’s BBQ, Restaurant and Catering offers a variety of menu items. Of course, our specialty is grilled and smoked meats. We offer the Iowa Choice Harvest Iowa Golden Sweet Corn as a regular side choice about twice a week. We also offer a fairly extensive gluten free menu and work hard to meet the needs of our customers.
Why did you begin using Iowa Choice Harvest products? What types of dishes do you prepare using Iowa Choice Harvest foods?
We started using Iowa Choice Harvest, not just because we know some of the founding members, but because we believe in shopping local when possible. Iowa Choice Harvest gave us the opportunity to support local growers and offer quality products to our customers. We currently purchase the delicious Iowa grown sweet corn and have tried a sample of the carrots. We are looking forward to expanding our product line with the company.
What do you like about using Iowa Choice Harvest foods?
We truly enjoy the quality and flavor of the products we have tried. The customer service is top notch and ordering and receiving products is efficient and timely.
Why have you made Iowa-local foods an important part of your business?
Supporting our local farm families and local companies helps promote a strong economy. We are a small family owned business and we know the value of community support. We also know that serving quality products will help ensure future business.
Anything else you’d like to talk about?
We appreciate the fact that Iowa Choice Harvest offers great products and exceptional customer support. We are a small customer for them but they value us as a customer by calling weekly for orders and setting up online ordering. We are excited to see what new products they might have for us in the future.
You can learn more about Smokin’ G’s BBQ Restaurant and Catering at http://www.smokin-gs.com and at 641-753-4147 (restaurant) or 641-751-1427 (catering). Visit Smokin G’s on Facebook or at 25 West Main Street in Marshalltown.