CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Southside BBQ has been open for two years, but the building's history goes back more than 50 years. This spot was once known as Southside Florist, where the current owner used to work.
"I started working for Ms. Taylor when I was sixteen years old, delivering flowers right here in this building. I'll be 68 this August, so I've been in this building for 51 years," laughed Joe Josue.
He was working as a florist for years until three years ago business started to wither. That's when Josue knew he had a choice.
"The flower business at one time was very vibrant. It started kind of going downhill, so we got to the point a couple of years ago; it was either make a switch or go ahead and retire and get out of the business," continued Josue.
In that tough time, Josue found a hobby that he loved and learned from his neighbor. "We had moved to North Carolina for about 25 years, and I was driving back and forth to the florist every day. Well, there was a gentleman down there, a retired Lieutenant Commander, and he always had a pig cooker outside of his place. And man, I was fascinated with that. So, I would watch him cook the whole hogs, and he started teaching me how to do it," Josue explained that's when it all started.
Josue chose not to retire but instead to turn Southside Florist into Southside BBQ. "I said well, let's give it a try. Without a doubt, it's probably the best move I could've possibly made," he smiled.
Southside BBQ is a small spot, a mom-and-pop shop, with a simple menu. "Our philosophy has been from the beginning take it slow, keep it simple, keep it good," said Josue. They serve leg quarters, pulled chicken, and pulled pork, all Carolina style. Once you try the meat by itself, pour on one of their homemade sauces -- delicious.
"When I'm pulling the bus or pulling the meat, and I say, wow, that is some good-looking barbecue right there. And that doesn't ever seem to get old," Josue chuckled.
Their sides are delicious and straightforward too. You can grab coleslaw, baked beans, green beans, macaroni-and-cheese, or ask for one of Vicki's homemade desserts.
"We're trying to keep you fed and keep you happy," smiled Josue. Their biggest goal is to put South Norfolk on the map.
"South Norfolk's going to make it. We're going to make it back," smiled Vicki Josue, Joe's wife.
Their love for South Norfolk and for serving the community is infectious. Joe Josue said the passion behind this spot has been in his heart for years.
"If you spend 50 years in a place, it's home. You've got roots grown in it right here. This is our happy place. If you got to go to work every day, as they say, [you] might as well be happy about going there. I'm happy coming here and doing this," smiled Josue.
You can visit Joe and Southside BBQ at 1113 Poindexter St, Chesapeake, VA 23324.