3G Barbecue dream comes true at Rustic Ridge

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Chris Parker is ready to create at 3G Barbecue, his new Eldridge restaurant.

Rustic Ridge golf course provides a kitchen for his studio. His canvas is your plate.

Parker will fill it with spare ribs, brisket, beef tips, chicken and pulled pork, with homemade seasonings and sauces for dine in and carry out.

He and his family opened the restaurant named for their three generations of barbecue obsession.

Chris learned the craft from his dad, Sylvester Roberts, who learned it from his dad, Leonard Roberts. Parker’s dad came to the Quad Cities in the 1990s for work, and has since retired to his Mississippi home town, the roots of their recipes.

Those techniques and grill-side wisdom drive Parker’s dream-come-true for a guy who was prepared to shelve chef aspirations for steady warehouse work.

He and his wife, Brittany, had talked about food trucks and other ways to keep the dream alive. But with 2-year-old Queen, and 7-month-old Kingsley in their household, Parker wanted something regular, reliable and with room to grow.

In the meantime, Rustic Ridge golf course owner Kevin Wohlford had about given up on keeping reliable kitchen help before the pandemic hit. Wohlford said he loves the outdoor golf course work. Managing the restaurant was maddening.

Then he crossed paths with Parker. Barbecue brought them together.

One of Chris’ friends stopped at Rustic’s restaurant looking for a barbecue meal. When he heard the kitchen had closed, he called Chris on the spot.

Parker scheduled a meeting with Wohlford, then showed up with his wife, friend and mom. He saw a turnkey kitchen with a steady stream of golf and banquet customers.

Wohlford saw an artist.

“The way he talked about it, the passion really came through. We could have done just bar food, but this place isn’t just a bar,” Wohlford said.

Rustic Ridge members and patrons are a family that deserve more than burgers, frozen pizza and chips. Parker’s recipes, enthusiasm and attention to detail captured Wohlford’s attention, and support.

Wohlford surrendered the old name, Lynn’s Barbecue, “so that Chris can make it his own.”

Parker found a new meat supplier, mixed up seasoning in bulk, and refined his family’s southern-style sauces, tangy and spicy, but not too hot.

During his interview for this story, Parker prepped ribs, removing the back-side membrane and applying the rub before six hours in the smoker.

3G will provide dining and carry-out. Wohlford keeps the bar and banquet hall business, offering room discounts for customers who choose 3G as their caterer.

That leaves Wohlford more time on the course, and Parker more time in his own kitchen.

3G is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturdays, and 3:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Wohlford plans to resume the open mic performances that kept the dining room full most Sundays.

Parker is bringing in two kitchen assistants, and two wait staff. Most orders will be made and picked up at a kitchen window in the dining room. Wait staff will fill and replenish drinks.

Diners will get to experience an artist at work. Parker said he obsesses on barbecue, scouring the web for recipes and techniques. He’s a devotee of Miss “Tootsie” Tomanetz, of Snow’s Barbecue, in Lexington, Texas.

“I’m the kind of guy, if I’m sitting around at midnight and get an idea, I’ll fire up the smoker,” he said.

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