Switching gears

Photo courtesy of Brian Kendall

A lifelong resident of the Paradise/Magalia area, Brian Kendall returned to his home, post-Camp Fire, to find that while his house had survived, his consignment store business, This n That, had not. After seven years of buying storage lockers and selling the contents at his second-hand shop, he was suddenly out of work. During a meal at Red Lion Pizza—one of the only open eateries in Paradise—Kendall brainstormed a new business venture. Realizing that there were very few food options for the residents who have returned and relief workers, he decided to open and operate a food trailer in Paradise. With the help of his father, Jerry, they started Camp Fire BBQ, which launched Dec. 30 and serves comfort food Monday-Friday, starting at 7:30 a.m. You’ll often find Kendall in the parking lot of Beyond Fitness, on the Skyway, though he does move around. Call 966-6533 for more information.

What kind of food do you make?

Starting at 7:30 in the morning, we have our breakfast menu of biscuits, breakfast burritos and scrambles. For lunch, we do a variety of things: pulled pork, brisket, ribs and chicken. We’re getting ready to do tri-tip and sausages. We also have potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and cornbread muffins. Everything is made from scratch. I enjoy making brisket the most; it’s a labor of love!

Did you have an interest in cooking before this?

I had enjoyed it, and cooked for friends and family. I had always wanted to get more into it, but I was so busy with my other business that I never had time to. This is a completely different operation than my last job. I used to buy and sell storage units for my consignment shop, and now my dad and I are cooking all day! And we didn’t have the trailer beforehand. We had to buy it, renovate it, and have it inspected. It was a lot of work.

How’s business been?

Great! We close whenever we run out of food, and we run out fairly early. Today we ran out at noon after someone placed a to-go order of 35 items.

What’s been the most inspiring part about this business enterprise?

Seeing the smiles on people’s faces. What we’re making is comfort food, and it’s nice to see people have some sense of comfort when they’re away from home or have lost everything. We get people who’ve been displaced, along with people doing tree maintenance, working for PG&E, FEMA and so on. There are a couple other food trucks, too, and thank god for them. We’ll be here in business as long as we can be!