Food truck at Riverfront Park serves up fresh barbecue and good vibes only
RAVENSWOOD — Brandy and Trisha have always been close. Only two years separate the sisters in age and less than 18 feet separate them at work.
The two decided to go into business together last year and now they spend their days serving barbecue and smiles in Ravenswood.
Brandy Strobbe and Trisha Ludwig are the owners of Sisters BBQ, a food truck at Riverfront Park. The sisters have practically been inseparable for 43 years and when COVID-19 hit they chose to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
Ludwig's restaurant Bogey's BBQ and Grille didn't make it out of the pandemic. Strobbe had a full-time desk job and part-time gig at Bogey's for about two years. Ludwig's love for the restaurant business rubbed off on Strobbe, and when Bogey's closed its doors she wanted to try something new.
Food truck hunt
It all started when Ludwig sent her sister of a food truck that looked like it was "about to fall apart."
It was just a joke at first. They would laugh about starting their own food truck.
"We never dreamed that it would actually come true," Strobbe said.
They found a truck in Tennessee last winter and everything fell in place from then on. They didn't even have to think of a name. Sisters BBQ was the only option for them.
Strobbe and her younger sister aren't anything alike. Strobbe is outgoing and loves socializing with customers while Ludwig is laid back and prefers to stay in the kitchen.
Their opposite personalities are what bonded them over the years and now it's helping them run their business. When people walk up to the truck, Strobbe greets them and takes the orders while Ludwig prepares the food.
The truck is only 18 feet long. There isn't any room in the back for freezers or large coolers. Ludwig smokes and prepares the barbecue at her house and brings in fresh batches every day. It's an "art," she said.
"You think anybody can do it, but you really can't," Ludwig said.
When they're out of barbecue, they're out until the next day.
They sold over 1,000 barbecue sandwiches in their first month of business. Ludwig said her smoker has been running practically 24/7 since they opened.
Full stomach and happy faces
Strobbe took a risk when she quit her desk job a couple months ago, but she said it's been worth it.
Her goal is to make sure all their customers have a good experience. She's gotten to the point where she recognizes regulars who swing by. Seeing them, talking with them, and getting to know the people who love their food has been rewarding for Strobbe.
Keeping things affordable is important for the sisters. Strobbe said whenever prices increase for meat or other food items, she and her sister take the hit first — not the customers.
Inseparable girl bosses
Ludwig has about a 12 hour day, but when she isn't with her sister they're talking on the phone.
"I know without a doubt she has my back," Strobbe said. "No matter what the situation."
Strobbe said she wouldn't want to run their "smokin' hot" business without her sister. They are using their relationship and food truck journey to inspire their daughters.
"We are teaching our girls — today, they can do whatever they want to do," Strobbe said. "It's so empowering."
— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.