It’s probably a clichÃ©. Definitely a clichÃ©. But Lance and Boo Eaker were one day talking in early 2020, starting their third year owning and operating a barbecue kitchen truck, and had reached a crossroads. It was either this or that. ClichÃ©, but it happens.
âMy wife told me, ‘This was my last year on the truck,’â says Lance Eaker, a former consultant who dreamed of owning a food truck. Boo was a fashion designer who left the industry for the truck. It had been a few difficult years; you could understand why they had reached a crossroads.
She said, ‘Either we get a restaurant or we get new jobs. We are done, “” says Lance. âYou work so hard for very little income, and you waste all that time and show up forâ¦â He stops. Chasing dreams can be overwhelming.
So Eaker Barbecue is ready for the big move. Lance wanted to open his restaurant, and the good news was that 2020 was going well for the couple. Not only were they parked at places like Karbach Brewing and Truck Yard, serving Lance’s mesquite and post-oak fueled tail and Boo’s sides inspired by his Korean heritage, but they served the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. They were ready to take the leap.
We all know what happened next. Covid-19 has reduced Eaker Barbecue to a single truck. He went back to his roots, Eaker’s Westbury neighborhood where locals came several times a week to eat gochujang pork belly and ribs. But the pandemic also increased the urgency for Lance and Boo – now or never was the time. So they got their restaurant … in Fredericksburg.
âYou’re crazy,â Boo told a friend last summer who suggested Fredericksburg as the best place to start a smokehouse. It is a town of 10,000 inhabitants and five well-established smokehouses. It didn’t seem like a feasible place to open a new pit, but the Eakers underestimated the Hill Country tourist destination.
âYou have a city that’s been growing for a long time,â Lance says. “And you have this intentional process in developing tourism, and they did a phenomenal job of keeping what they had and developing it further.”
So the Eakers made several trips to Fredericksburg, sold their home in Westbury, and began looking for a new residence and business space. They perfected in an available space, possibly available for hire, which already had an interested party. They booked him in Fredericksburg to possibly meet with the owner, and after a successful conversation, the owner broke off discussions with the other party and signed a deal with the Eakers.
At the same time, a friend let them stay at their ranch guesthouse until they could settle in. So they signed the lease in January 2021, moved around February, and although they ran out of construction time a bit due to the winter storm, are now ready to debut.
The new Eaker BBQ in Fredericksburg, slated to open around Memorial Day weekend, has 2,000 square feet with a backyard and large yard, perfect for outside seating. People can enjoy these Mesquite and Post Oak meats with sides like kimchi fried rice, and over time the Eakers hope to expand the menu with comfort foods – smoked burgers, a Korean fried chicken sandwich and a fried chicken steak.
The food truck, unfortunately, will be leaving for now. There’s no need for it up there, but that’s the way it is. As clichÃ© as it sounds, every ending brings a new beginning.
âIt was a great experience and a huge amount of work,â says Lance. “I’m probably 20 years older than I really am. But that has prepared us for the next move.”