BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. - Smokin' Bear BBQ had its first soft opening on Monday. The owner chose a special group of people to serve first at the restaurant.
"But what we really are excited about is feeding the first responders, the police officers, the fire department, the EMS so we are excited to provide them with an opportunity to eat some of our food," said Tyson Oakman, owner.
The owner said he was happy to serve those who serve the community.
"My dad was a first responder so my dad was a police officer and detective. My dad walked the streets back in the 70s and he was a detective in the 80s and 90s and the early 2000s so first responders are near and dear to my heart," said Oakman.
Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker and the Bridgeport Police Department were among those first responders to try the restaurant.
"Well it is always great to see a new business open up in town and especially a restaurant like this, and for them to give us the opportunity to try their food first and be a part of this is really an honor to us. We really appreciate it," said Walker.
More than 700 pounds of meat, like brisket and pulled pork, were prepared fresh and served with traditional sides like baked beans and mac n' cheese.
Oakman said he has worked to create relationships with everyone that works at Smokin' Bear BBQ and everyone that walks through its doors.
"It is a family oriented business and that is exactly what we have and that is what we are going to have," added Oakman.
"Really good friends and how we met was I coach his daughter in soccer," said Nick Anderson, chef.
By the look of plates during the soft opening, many enjoyed everything Smokin' Bear BBQ had to offer.
"The timing was right in my life. The timing was right in my wife's life and there was an opportunity with this building so we just jumped on it and sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith to go after what you really want to do," explained Oakman.
March 29 will be the grand opening for Smokin' Bear BBQ. Its located on Main Street in Bridgeport.
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