In a time when we can't all gather around a table, we can still come together as a community. We're Open Indy is a partnership between WRTV and our local restaurants and businesses with one goal: getting them through this tough time. Every day, we will help shine a light on the businesses that make up our community by telling their stories and rallying around those who are keeping the grills going, the hospitals running, and the businesses operating.
INDIANAPOLIS — Communities across Central Indiana are coming together during the coronavirus outbreak to support one another and their small businesses more than ever.
Thanks to the support of Indianapolis's east side community, "Smokin' Barrel BBQ" has grown immensely over the last four years.
Now, the family-owned restaurant situated on Camp Sertoma wants to return that support in these uncertain times.
CJ McFarland, co-owner of Smokin Barrel, says they've been able to thrive thanks to the support of Warren Township and New Palestine residents. New Palestine is about 20 miles east of Downtown Indianapolis, and about 5 miles down the road from Smokin' Barrel.
"New Pal just showed up. They just poured into us," McFarland said. "When Camp Sertoma became our home, Warren Township just showed up. We've just been met with a ton of support ... undeniably."
That community support is what has kept CJ and her husband, Mike McFarland, running their business since it was established in 2016. The couple started out part-time, only doing events, tent-selling, and your occasional bingo night.
The couple's sugar-free and keto-friendly BBQ grew to be prosperous over the next three years, and ultimately helped them decide to go full-time.
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Pitmaster Mike puts so much love and hard work into everything he does! He only smokes all our meats using wood only, no propane. All of our meats are sugar free because he says he’s sweet enough! He loves providing low n slow barbeque to central Indiana! Little sleep is needed when you are doing something you love!! #indy #newpal #indyfood #indianapolis #indybbq #bbqisfamily #warrentownship #ketofriendly #sugarfreemeat #hoosierbbq #acts242
"People always ask us, 'What are you? Texas? Are you guys Memphis BBQ? Carolina BBQ?' And really, we do Hoosier BBQ. They're like, 'do Hoosiers do BBQ?" and I'm like, 'well, we do now!'" McFarland said, laughing.
McFarland is from South Bend and her husband from Evansville — Hoosiers through and through.
"We have four kids, and we knew we would eventually want to be with them more often," she continued. "We just wanted to be in the community on a more regular basis."
The consistent support of their community is what drove the McFarland family to remain open despite the recent tight restrictions posed to restaurants. They knew their east side community needed the support.
"There are just not a lot of businesses or restaurants over here. You have the elderly, and family that picks food up for them on the regular because, you know, they trust us and they know we support them," McFarland said. "And we just want to continue providing that for these families."
Smokin' Barrel's meats are made over wood only, no propane or electric.
"We just add a little bit of extra love into it," McFarland chuckled.
Smokin Barrel is available for delivery through Market Wagon, Door Dash and Uber Eats, and also have no-contact pick up.
Smokin' Barrel BBQ
2316 S German Church Rd
Monday - Friday: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Signature dishes: Sliced brisket, pulled pork, sugar-free rubs, kickin' slaw, and brisket tacos
COVID-19 precautions: Gloves and masks worn at all times, hand sanitizers readily available, and no one besides the McFarlands are able to come in and out of their kitchen, as they have a separate entrance area.
When the world is not under a pandemic, the McFarlands also offer a teen volunteering service. Where they crosstrain teens on how to work in the restaurant industry, customer service and cooking techniques. You can learn more about that on their website.