Friday is barbecued rib and brisket day at the Southwestern Grill thanks, in part, to Terry Wessels. He trusted God to provide for him and his family after his job ended at a barbeque franchise, and he brought his skill to the Grill, where he works as a Southwestern Grill cook.
Wessels is originally from Dyersville, Iowa, an area known for things other than its cooked meats. “Barbecue to me, up north, was hotdogs and hamburgers,” he says. “I came down to Texas, [and] it’s like ‘No, no! We’ve got ribs, pulled pork, turkey, chicken, barbecue ribs.’—and I didn’t even know what a brisket was.”
His love for barbeque, as well as his dream to be an entrepreneur, prompted him to open his own restaurant in Texas. He named Charlie’s Bar-B-Que after his wife, Mary, who is nicknamed “Charlie” by her family.
From there, Wessels sold his restaurant and joined a barbeque store franchise where he encountered difficulties with his employers, and direction from God, that led him to leave the business.
“Can you say, ‘I own a business,’ or can you say, ‘the business owns me?’ Big difference,” says Wessels. “I worked for people that for them it was truly all about the money. And it’s sad, because what’s it going to matter? When you die, there’s not going to be an armored car, saying ‘back up! Gosh, we got to dig a bigger hole than that, we’ve got a lot of money to bury!’”
The time he spent looking for work after leaving the franchise required trust in God’s sovereignty from him and for his family, when for the first time in 20 years he had to look for a job.
Though he misses the industry, Wessels says he is thankful for his position as Southwestern Grill cook because it gives his wife the chance to go back to school. Mary is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities.
“She’s like a kid in a candy factory. She is learning so much,” he says, smiling. He says he is thankful for Mary’s support and for her being an example of faith during their family’s transition.
“My wife is the best teacher… she’s like, ‘this is perfect, I think this was meant to happen,’” he says. “She’s definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Southwesterners can enjoy Wessel’s barbeque at the Southwestern Grill for $6.50 per plate, which includes sides and a drink. This special is $4 cheaper than the equivalent at a nearby chain barbeque restaurant.