Bodacious Bar-B-Q is WORLD FAMOUS (and with good reason)
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Feb. 19, 2004 -- Voted "Best in East Texas" 12 years in a row, Bodacious Bar-B-Q is not just a favorite around Hopkins County, but across the state and around the world. License plates and push pins show proof of patronage from every state in the nation and at least 25 countries.

"Our map gets so full we have to redo it sometimes," said Galen Adams, whose customers started using push pins on the restaurant's U.S. map to identify the towns they come from. "Then we had people come in from other countries saying, 'You don't have a map of where I come from.' So, I have them draw where they're from."

Customers have penciled maps on napkins, order tablets, and brown paper bags that now adorn the walls of the establishment.

"That has really caught on," said Galen. "We've had people from South America, Japan, Russia -- just all over the place."

A wall loaded with license plates from Missouri, Oklahoma, Delaware, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, and even Canada, the Yukon and Saudi Arabia is another way people show their support.

"We have actually had people go out to their car and take off one of their plates to leave with us," said Darla, Galen's wife of 18 years. "Or they'll go home and mail them to us later."

One of Galen's favorite plates is from an Iraqi military vehicle used in Desert Storm -- complete with bullet holes.

"My other favorites are the Purple Heart plates," said Galen, whose partiality to the U.S. Armed Forces stems from his experience in the U.S. Air Force.

According to Galen, about 40 percent of his business is from the interstate, and even though from out-of-state, many of them are repeat customers.

"We have customers that have been passing through since 1992 when we first opened," Galen explained. "They come through about two or three times a year on their way to see their daughter in Dallas. We have their personalized plates on the wall, too."

Also decorating the walls are autographed pictures from a few celebrities that have passed through, such as Johnny Rodriguez, George Andre, ZZ Top band members, Ken Curtis (Festus from 'Gunsmoke'), Barry Switzer, Randy White and Nate Newton, just to name a few.

"It's been real interesting," said Galen. "Every day is different, and we just really enjoy the people."

People have been enjoying Bodacious Bar-B-Q since 1967 according to Galen, who is an expert on the history of Bodacious, since his uncle Roland Lindsey is the founder of the franchise.

"I've grown up with it," said Galen, who started washing trays for Bodacious when he was just 10 years old.

The name Bodacious comes from a descriptive term used in the classic Snuffy Smith comic strip.

"The barbecue business started as Lil' Roland's, but since he wasn't so little it didn't work out," recalled Galen. "Bodacious just had a better ring to it, I guess."

The first store was located in Longview, and Galen's dad opened the second one in Mt. Pleasant. Now there are around 20 Bodacious Bar-B-Q's in the state, most in East Texas. To buy into the franchise, Galen said, his uncle has very strict guidelines.

"You have to have worked in one and know how things are done," Galen explained. "You have to have developed a trust with my uncle.

"And you do things right or you're not Bodacious," stressed Galen, who said his uncle has been known to take the Bodacious name away from those who didn't maintain those standards.

All Bodacious owners have to use only top quality meats and spare no expense, said Galen.

"My uncle teaches you that quality is the most important thing," he said. "Location is good, but it's not the most important.

"If you do it right, people are gonna show up," he said. "They're not gonna let you down."

And Bodacious' secret sauce is a key ingredient to good barbecue.

"Only four people in the family even know that recipe, and I'm one of them," Galen said.

Bodacious sauces and spices are packaged and sold across the counter and distributed throughout the country. Even though law requires ingredients to be listed on the package, Galen explained that the real secret is in the technique.

"There are certain stages that you have to add things to make it just right," explained Darla. "It's a process that's very time consuming."

Galen said Bodacious Bar-B-Q is the old-time barbecue people grew up on.

"We've got a woodpile out back, and you can just look at the place and tell its barbecue. A woodpile is just symbolic to what barbecue is all about," said Galen, who uses only hickory, oak and pecan wood to cook his barbecue.

The Bodacious menu offers plate dinners, sandwiches, side orders, daily specials as well as a variety of family packs to go and catering.

"And our menu has ALWAYS been Atkins friendly," said Galen, in support of the latest diet craze.

The Adams are also big supporters of the Wildcats and various charities in the community, such as CASA and the MDA Lock-up.

"I'm real proud about that," said Galen. "They are good groups to support. And we want to do all we can to help."

"It's great to serve this community," said Darla. "We love Sulphur Springs. We love the people -- this is home."

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