Hand-Me-A-Rib (HMAR) was started by Larry Johnson (a.k.a., Uncle Larry) in Vacaville, CA in 1999. Open for only one year, through blood, sweat, and tears, Larry developed a high-quality product along with a relatively good customer base. But, most of all, he learned during that year, through hard knocks, that it takes a lot more to run a successful restaurant. Larry decided to close the business exactly one year after opening (he was working full time on another job as well). It was just too much for him to handle.
Larry was born in Tyler, Texas, one of seven children, where he was introduced to barbecue as an inexpensive way to celebrate Juneteenth, Fourth of July, and just about any other holiday and/or occasion. At the young age of thirteen he dreamed of owning a barbecue restaurant. He felt, if given the chance, he could be successful in the barbecue restaurant business. However, he knew absolutely nothing about how to actually cook barbecue! He did not have a recipe, money, or even a plan. But, he did have a dream and the gift of gab. Someone told him once that he should talk to people who already owned a restaurant that they might want to sell. Sure enough – that is exactly what happened!
In 1983 Larry moved from Texas to San Rafael, CA and began working as a water treatment operator. His wife, and their three sons soon followed. Larry and his wife, Kaye, worked hard raising their three sons. And then, the same year that their youngest graduated from high school, Larry decided to step into his dream. Seven years after the first restaurant closed, on March 1, 2007, the doors of Hand-Me-A-Rib opened at 900 Alamo Pkwy, Vacaville, CA – a new location, a new staff, a new look; but the same exceptional product where Service, and Exceptional barbecue was the only business.
Unfortunately, the economy took a downturn in 2010 and, although HMAR remained open until 3Q11, once again the doors were closed as a last resort. Eleven grandchildren later, HMAR had built a robust customer base that would help transition to a new business model – catering, events, and festivals with the same level of excellence customers were accustomed to, and allow much needed time to spend with family. Thus, the birth of Hand-Me-A-Rib Catering Company (HMARC).
HMARC by the grace of God, and loyal customers, has been able to maintain a presence in the catering business ever since. They were voted best runner up Barbecue Caterer 2012 by Vacaville Reporter’s people choice!
“IS ALL ABOUT THE PREPARATION.” -UNCLE LARRY JOHNSON