VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Dave Brown is the owner of Dave's BBQ in Virginia Beach. He says this all started when he was just a kid.
"I was kind of like that kid always around the grills and stuff when I was growing up, around the older guys. I found it fascinating," Brown said. "I wanted to do it, started to do it, burned a lot of food. It started to become a passion of mine. I just couldn't wait to get out there all the time and do it."
After finding his rhythm behind the grill, Brown started to cook for block parties.
He said that people would come to his door the next day after the parties and ask for more.
"When people started asking me for lunches and stuff like that, I knew we had something," Brown chuckled.
Then came the little shack that's known as Dave's BBQ. This tiny spot has been running for four years strong.
"Everybody's like family when they come in here. They'll sit here for a couple of minutes and tell us how things are going, and it's the coolest thing, you know? To be part of it," said Brown.
When you taste the food, it's no surprise why people keep coming back.
"Everything here's homemade, we always tell people, except for the soda and the chips, we make everything homemade," started Brown.
They serve three homemade sauces: sweet, spicy and Carolina vinegar. The rub on all the meat is homemade. The sides, beans, coleslaw, spicy coleslaw and potato salad are all made fresh in-house.
If you have a sweet tooth, Dave's wife makes desserts from scratch that are for sale.
Everything you see is what Dave calls a "passion project" for everyone in the building.
"I get to work with my best friends. I've known these guys since I was little. My son works for us; my wife's here all the time. It's a family-run business. It - you know - It's a family business. I can't stress that enough. Everybody that comes in here, we're happy to see them," said Brown.
When it comes to the meat, Dave picks only the best. He says with recent shortages that be difficult, but he needs the best to create the best.
And it is good. The meat is tender, falls off the bone, and melts in your mouth.
Dave says they spend more than 16 hours cooking and prepping this meat for your plate.
Each bite is delicious. Brisket is their best-seller, but don't sleep on the pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs, wings, and three different types of sausages. The options are vast and all delicious. If you're in for a challenge, ask for the "meat-quake sandwich."
"It's sausage, it's pulled pork and it's brisket," boasted Brown. It's a monster of a sandwich, but it earns you some major street cred at Dave's.
What's better than the food and sandwiches are the people. Immediately walking in, our 13News Now team felt like a part of the family.
Brown's heart for making friends and spreading kindness outweighs the sandwiches tenfold.
"You know when they come in, they're happy; when they leave, they're thrilled. It's the best feeling in the world when you can make somebody smile," said Brown.
If you want to visit Dave's BBQ, you can find them at 1781 Virginia Beach Boulevard.