Biz Buzz Monday: Dubuque barbecue enthusiast opens own business

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Dubuque, we will share other developments in Tuesday’s edition.

Greg Harrison’s first time at the grill could have gone better.

He was a teenager at a family barbecue, and he had received strict instructions from his father to stay away from the grill — an instruction that only served to flame his contradictory desire.

His dad turned his back for a moment, and Harrison saw his chance.

“I had to be sneaky about it, but I got a piece of meat on the grill. It looked so good, but my friends were rushing me,” Harrison said. “I had to take it off real quick before my dad saw, and it wasn’t quite done. The taste just wasn’t there, so I stayed away from (barbecue) for a while.”

Decades later, Harrison got his own smoker and started to practice the art of barbecue one recipe at a time. He experimented with family recipes throughout his 30s and 40s and eventually made his own sauces to pair alongside the various dishes.

He’d always thought about opening a restaurant of his own, but it wasn’t until his recent retirement that he truly took the leap. Now, he operates Greg’s BBQ at 2900 Central Ave. in the space that also houses City Girl Farming Prepared Meals.

His menu ranges from ribs to pulled chicken and beef brisket and more. Every dish is made by hand, he said, and can be paired with homestyle sides such as baked beans, coleslaw or ambrosia fruit salad.

“A lot of my dishes are my grandmother’s recipes,” Harrison said. “They’re really interesting flavors that you won’t find in a grocery store or anywhere else.”

Harrison currently operates the barbecue business on a limited schedule while he looks for a location to expand to more regular hours. For now, he said, he does delivery, walk-in and pickup orders on the third Thursday of each month.

In the future, he hopes to grow the business and create a sort of community hub where people can gather, relax and connect over a good plate of food.

“I want to give the whole valley the pleasure of good barbecue,” Harrison said. “I’m in more of a temporary location right now, but I’m looking to work my way up to a four-day-a-week spot or something similar.”

Those looking for additional information on the business or to put in an order can contact Harrison by phone at 563-845-1936. Both lunch and dinner orders are available.