James Ramsey, chef and owner of Jimmy Vega’s Smokehouse, was an architecture student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock before he changed his major in his sophomore year to restaurant, hotel and institutional management and “never looked back,” he said.
After nearly two decades of working in restaurants, Ramsey opened Jimmy Vega’s as a food truck and catering business in July 2016.
He decided to expand his business with a permanent location in October 2018 located off NE Inner loop in Georgetown.
Ramsey converted portions of his commissary—an established kitchen where food truck operators and caterers can prepare and store food—into a dining area with black-and-white photos hanging on the walls and a record player near the entrance.
“[I] got to the point where I missed being in a restaurant a little bit, and we felt like there was a lot of wasted space here that could be utilized better,” Ramsey said.
Jimmy Vega’s—a play on Ramsey’s nickname, Jimmy, and Vincent Vega, a fictional character in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film “Pulp Fiction”—offers a “carnivores’ menu” of brisket, ribs, turkey and sausage along with classic barbecue sides and sandwiches. Ramsey said he intends to add to the menu as the business grows and will soon expand operating hours to serve breakfast.
The restaurant also serves four housemade barbecue sauces, including traditional, spicy, blackstrap rum and white barbecue.
Ramsey said he enjoys making comfort food. He was taught his cooking skills from his parents—David and Cathy Ramsey—who, along with his wife, Angela, help him run the restaurant.
Ramsey added that passion, patience and fresh ingredients have led to the success and growth of his business.
“The passion was creating and making food that I loved,” Ramsey said. “It’s not just sustenance for [chefs]. It’s a calling.”
Jimmy Vega’s Smokehouse
40120 Industrial Park Circle, Georgetown
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Thu.-Sat. 4-8 p.m., closed Sun.