Black History Month: Reggi’s BBQ owner talks about customers, service

JACKSON, Tenn. — It’s a good time as customers come out by the dozens to a black-owned business, but the man behind the grill and sauce says service and customers is what it’s all about.

“Joy. To see them coming in repeatedly. Over and over again,” Eugene Pickett says.

Reggi’s BBQ is a family business that’s been flaming for decades.

“It started about 31 years ago, and I was working in the communication industry,” Pickett said. “All of a sudden I got a call that said I don’t have a job anymore.”

It took a call from a family member to light the fire.

“My father called me and told me he knew of a building for rent. I decided I would go in there and take a chance and start selling chicken and barbecue,” Pickett said.

But what’s the secret behind the mouthwatering food?

“We cook with hickory and oak,” Pickett said. “The main thing is we cook it fresh. We cook it fresh every day. Every day you walk in here there is meat coming off the pit.”

But it’s more than that.

They cook their meat in a pit every night and even have people coming in throughout the night to check on the meat.

“I love food,” Pickett said. “Most of all I enjoy serving people, and I enjoy seeing the reaction of the people who eat the product here at Reggi’s. I really do.”

His customer service goes beyond the grill. Pickett gives back to youth and volunteers regularly with the Boys & Girls Club.

Fresh popcorn is made daily and pictures line the walls, including the Queen of Blues, Denise LaSalle.

Pickett says his customers aren’t just customers — they are family.

“We always say when you come in here you’re a customer, but when you come back, you’re a guest,” Pickett said.