Madison Magazine April-May 2019 - Page 12

Food & Drink Profile Story and photos by Taylor Six From side job to family business I It is very apparent when you talk to Paul Morin, owner of Straight from Texas Bar- B-Que on North Third Street, there are three things he holds near and dear — his family, his faith and good ol’ Texas barbecue. Originally from a small town in central Texas, Morin moved from Belton to Richmond in 1997 and began working with a mental health agency as a therapist and service coordinator, when he decided to try his hand at mak- ing extra cash on the side making barbecue. In 1999, Morin was diagnosed with a medical condition requir- ing long-term hospitalization. Morin’s father, living in Texas at the time, traveled to stay and take care him. On one of his commutes coming back from the Lone-Star state, his father brought him back a smoker, justifying the purchase saying “he thought his son may need one.” That was the year he created Straight from Texas Bar-B-Que as 12 Bar-B-Que a side business out of his home, thinking that he would do events as a side job and started catering for sororities and fraternities at EKU. Morin explained that the way Kentuckians worship basketball is similar to how Texans feel about their ability to cook a bris- ket. “There’s a few things they teach you in Texas, one’s how to play football and one is barbecue,” he said. “In Texas, everyone has a smoker. Everyone is a pretend pit master. So it is just something back home that guys want to do Madison Magazine A P R I L- M AY 2 0 1 9 well, and you kind of grow up around it. Everyone has all their own secret rubs and recipes and all that.” He says that what makes Texas barbecue is that they don’t cook the meat in sauce, which he says is a side thing. It is all about the wood for Morin, and cooking the meat “low and slow.” When he started approaching his 20-year marker of being with the mental health agency, Morin began to think toward retirement. He asked his wife, who owns the adjacent space for her hair shop, for a little bit of space so he could start selling food. When the brick and mortar shop opened in 2014, Morin only had the front lobby area, two rooms for a kitchen and no seat- ing. Once he realized the good feed- back he was getting, he took an- other 8 feet from his wife’s store to be able to put in two tables. “We got a good response, peo- ple showed up and kept coming back and more people kept com- ing and we had more and more demand for more seating. I’ll kick her out one day,” he laughed. In 2015, Straight from Texas became mobile with the startup of their food truck, which he says receives a lot of business doing tailgates and events with Eastern Kentucky University. “We’re really lucky with the re- lationship we have with Eastern,” he said. “They ask us to events, a lot of students come here, faculty come here. We are on a rotation to feed the football team after request of a lot of the players. We