BEMIDJI -- One thing is for sure, 4 Kings Comfort BBQ & Catering is a family business.
Beth and Christopher Warrick (who are in-laws, Beth is married to Chris' brother Pat Warrick) run the business from a food truck at various locations in Bemidji. Beth owns it, and Chris is the chef.
The idea behind the business, which started May 1, came at, what else, a family function.
"I got married about a year and a half ago, and catered my wedding," Chris said. "We sat and started talking about how we should do something like this."
Beth, Pat and Chris' wife, Michelle, talked about opening a restaurant, possibly in Bemidji. Because there's so many restaurants opening this year, and there seems to be a festival every week within a 100 miles, they decided the food truck was the way to go.
"So we made it happen," Pat said.
First things first, they had to find where they could park the truck, which is not an easy thing.
"Well, you can't park on city streets, you can't park on city lots so we went and talked to businesses," Chris said.
One of their locations actually sought them out, they said.
"They (Counselor Realty) visited us somewhere else and they finally got tired of driving over there and said 'come park in our lot. That way we only have to walk 50 feet to go and get food.' And that is how some of our best spots are set up, people coming out, trying our food and kind of wanting us to be closer. That's how we got the spots we have around town," Chris said.
The trio plans to be open all year, with plans on selling food during Eelpout Festival in the winter. They will also have the catering side, supplying food for weddings and parties.
"It'll be a little slower in winter, but this will be a year round operation," Pat said.
Chris is the executive chef and pit master. He went to the School of Culinary Arts in Santa Barbara, Calif., and has experience working as a chef as well as a consultant, helping others start their own restaurants.
Cards of inspiration
The name 4 Kings is a family inside joke. Chris and Pat are just two of four brothers, the others are Dave and Paul. The four brothers would often play cards with their father, "Big" Dave.
"It kind of morphed into kind of a joke that we are the four kings of brothers and our dad was the ace of hearts," Pat said. "So when we started talking about business and stuff like that, I forget who threw calling it 4 Kings, but the four kings are the four Warrick brothers, so that's where that came from."
One of 4 Kings' more permanent haunts is the Finn 'n Feather Resort on Tuesday evenings as the resort does not have have a permanent restaurant.
On Tuesday, they went through 20 racks of ribs in 40 minutes. They say that adds to some of the unpredictability that can occur in their line of work.
Chris said having a food truck allows for flexibility with the job.
"The food truck thing, it's huge down in the (Twin Cities) and it's a lot newer in northern Minnesota. But Bemidji is starting to get into it," Chris said.
And the truck boasts a kitchen as nice or better than others he's worked in, Chris said.
"I've got my fryers, my smoker is on the truck. We can unplug and go and I can do whatever I need to do right out of this truck," Chris said. "It's a full commercial kitchen on wheels. We love the truck."
You can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/4KingsComfortBBQ