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Saucy's BBQ offers drive thru pork, ribs, and beer

Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 11:51:13-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Saucy's Walk Up and Saucy's Sit Down have transformed into Saucy's Drive Thru and Saucy's Takeout.

Tom McCormack , the owner of Saucy's BBQ in Petersburg and Hopewell, spoke with Eat It, Virginia co-host Scott Wise about keeping the Tri-Cities feed with ribs and pulled pork.

Tom McCormack
We started [Saucy's] in a shipping container back in 2010. We served food out of this 8x20 shipping container for five years. Then we opened the Petersburg interior location. Now we have Saucy's Sit Down which is the restaurant in Petersburg and we also have Saucy's Sit Down in Hopewell.

Scott Wise
Talk a little bit about how things have changed for you guys in the last month or so.

Tom McCormack
Obviously we're doing all take now. One of the really cool things that's happened is, I don't know how many people knew we had a drive thru in Hopewell, but they do now.

Everything in Hopewell is happening through the drive thru now. So there's no there's no walk up in Hopewell, it's all through the drive thru.

There's some walk up happening at the Petersburg location.

So it's been crazy. We were situated for pickup all along, but now it's just a lot of bulk food.

We're cooking a lot of food and we're selling a good amount of food.

Scott Wise
How much of your business was walk up and take out before compared to sit down?

Tom McCormack
I would say it was 80% sit down before you know. Again, it wasn't too big a change for us because we had our systems down for takeout.If there's a silver lining in any of this, it has to do with Hopewell. People now know we have a really nice drive thru.

Scott Wise
How many folks do you employ and how many have you been able to keep?

Tom McCormack
We've been able to keep probably half of our staff. Now the other half, we still have them employed, but we haven't been able to give them hours.

I think overall we have about somewhere right around 40 to 45 employees. We've been using as many of our waitstaff as we can, but really, there's no ability for that in Hopewell at all. And the waitstaff in Petersburg has really stepped up. And they're the ones who are running the front of house and taking all the orders via phone.

We're doing a lot, we finally got our website up to where people can order online. So that's a big deal. That's been, that's been another silver lining.

Scott Wise
What have been some of the more popular orders?

Tom McCormack
I mean, you know, full racks pf ribs are flying out. We have a family pack, which is a pint of pork and chicken leg quarters. And it's again, it's a lot of bulk, a lot of bulk food going out the door.

Scott Wise
You had to get creative in order to get people in the door and product out the door. Talk to us about some of the things that you guys are doing to make your experience a little different than others perhaps.

Tom McCormack
Well, you know, one of the neat things that's come about, which I hope it stays after this whole thing passes, is our ability to sell beer out of the drive thru window.

That's a pretty big deal. I don't know how old you are, but I know that back in the day, you go to North Carolina, you could do the Brew Thru thing.

It's a pretty big thing down there.

It seems like Virginia's finally caught up. I just sold a growler of a Trapezium white beer through the window. That's neat because my brother owns Trapezium and it's cool to be able to sell his beer through the window and people are really into that.

Scott Wise
It's a family affair in the Tri-Cities.

Tom McCormack
Yeah, it is.

We've been trying to think of some neat specials to do and that's where this whole rack and roll idea came about.

Our pitmaster Eric Wolfgang wanted to do a rack of ribs and roll of toilet paper. And I think someone somewhere beat him to the punch. So we're musicians. I have been playing music for a long time and Eric's a musician. I had an album that I put out some time ago. And I've got a few copies of it around. So we decided to do rack and roll and use my album as the roll part of it. We include a copy of my album in there, which is kind of nice.

Scott Wise
Yeah, a new number one hit?

Tom McCormack
That's exactly right. It lets people know the other side of our business and who we were before we started.

Scott Wise
How are things going change for Saucys?

Tom McCormack
I hope for us business goes berserk. We had shied away from Doordash and Uber Eats and even from online ordering, because it felt like with a staff that we had... it always feels like everything's always urgent in this business. It happens very quickly within an hour, you know, the lunch hour, and then the business and a dinner hour.

So I hope to hold onto those things. I'm curious to see how much online ordering keeps up and should we keep Doordash? Should we keep Uber Eats?

Scott Wise
Any final messages for those in the Tri-cCities who maybe haven't seen your place yet?

Tom McCormack
I'll tell you I was talking to someone at the police station the other day here in Hopewell. She said, "I've been here for 30 years. I didn't know you were there."

She's like two blocks away.

I hope they come. I hope this gets our name out there.

We're here, keep coming. We've been here. We don't plan on shutting down. So keep coming and give us a try. I know there's a ton of barbecue places out there, but I think we're top notch.