After 28 years in the corporate side of the restaurant industry, Woody Berry was excited to put that part of his life behind him.

“I was done,” he said. “I decided to retire here in Richardson, where we live.”

It was 2003, and Berry said he was looking forward to honing his barbecue skills. His father taught him how to smoke meats, Berry said, and he enjoyed bringing his food to family get-togethers and parties, where he quickly began getting catering requests.

“I had to buy a second smoker because every time I took something to a party, I got 10 or 12 orders,” Berry said.

Every Christmas, he was overwhelmed by the amount of orders that filled his home, Berry said. His wife, Gigi, decided she had seen enough of the backyard business taking over her kitchen.

“Gigi finally just said, ‘Hey, I just can’t handle this anymore, and you have to do something. You either have to tell [customers], ‘No,’ or you need to open a business,’ ” he said.

Berry took his wife’s advice, and the couple opened Woody B’s BBQ in January 2011. The restaurant is not a typical dine-in establishment: entree menu items are vacuum-sealed and stored in a cooler from which guests can grab what they want and warm it up at home. This format helped the business when the pandemic-related shutdowns began in March, Berry said. The restaurant also offers shipping.

Woody B’s was not immune to the economic downturn caused by the crisis—it lost more than 3,000 catered meal orders, Berry said. This side of the business typically makes up roughly 40% of sales, but it quickly dropped to nothing, Berry said.

Because of the restaurant’s loyal following, its year-to-date sales are still up. The couple credits their customers for the increase.

“These people aren’t just 10-year followers. Some of them are 17-year followers, way back to my first year, when I retired, back in 2003,” Berry said.

The keys to the restaurant’s success are the mesquite wood it uses to smoke the food and the consistency in quality, the Berrys said. Menu items made from the family’s own recipes, such as the smoked salmon and smoked chicken macaroni and cheese, along with the restaurant’s warm atmosphere, are what keep customers coming back, they said.••“In a small place like this, you just don’t quite expect the fawning all over you,” Berry said. “And it’s sincere.”

Woody B’s BBQ

1980 Nantucket Drive, Richardson


Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., •Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.•; closed Sun., Mon.