Dee Jay's BBQ Ribs & Grille
Smokin’ Hot Ribs
Baby back ribs are smokin’ hot at Dee Jay's BBQ Ribs & Grille — to the tune of 25,000 pounds a month. What began in 1980 as a 60-seat mom-and-pop operation in a converted car wash has burgeoned into the place for ribs in the Pittsburgh area. “President Bill Clinton loves our BBQ ribs. We’ve served countless governors and senators, famous athletes from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates and Penquins and people from all walks of life who are looking for a good dining experience,” said owner Dewey Guida.
Guida, a member of the board of directors of the National Restaurant Association, was a builder before he and wife Karen embarked on careers in foodservice. “It’s hard for us to believe, but this year we’re celebrating 35 years in this business.” The first 24 years were spent at the converted car wash, which had just 60 seats. “We love the tropics, so in the beginning, we decided to incorporate a tropical theme, which was rare back then in this area. Once we developed our winning ribs recipe, there was no turning back.”
"We offer folks great food, a good value, a nice clean place to dine and a serious commitment to customer service."
Eleven years ago, the Guidas decided to expand in an effort to alleviate the long lines and wait times for their loyal customers. They built a 6,000 square foot, 210-seat place at a local shopping center 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, in Weirton, West Virginia (near Wheeling). Guess what? There’s still a tropical theme, baby back ribs and a long line and wait times from one to two hours. On weekends, Dee Jay’s turns 1,200 to 1,300 covers. There is also a “to-go” window for customer convenience.
WHAT’S THEIR SECRET?
“Our secret is our ribs, and our rib recipe really is a secret,” Guida said. It took a lot of trial and error and TLC to develop just the right blend of ingredients, which involves flavor from hickory. “The rest is simple: We offer folks great food, a good value, a nice clean place to dine and a serious commitment to customer service. We are engaged in the community, and active with social media. We get excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. We’re very proud of where we are and what we do. We have a wonderful team of 85 employees.” In addition to Dewey and Karen, the operation includes their son Michael, who is general manager, and Joseph, who develops products for the menu.