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Photo by Brian Addison.
The thing with Bigmista’s is that they’re already well known for the BBQ—and rightfully so.
Pullin’ a food truck around LA, the most charming wife’n’husband team, Phyllis and Neal Strawder, garnered a bigger following in LA than they did in Long Beach—even after opening their brick-and-mortar near the Traffic Circle.
But like any tried-and-true Long Beacher, these folks kept it LB, refusing to step outside the city limits despite their almost cult-like following in LA. After success, they keep striving to reinvent themselves—and that meant BBQ for breakfast.
BBQ for breakfast? It was, indeed, the gastronomical wonder that was Bigmista’s Morning Wood and it worked out, at least for those that experienced it, beautifully.
“We loved running Morning Wood—ur regular customers were awesome but it all came down to parking and money,” Neil said. “We were making enough to keep it open—barely—but not enough for us to make any money.”
Part of the issue, according to Neil, was the fact that surrounding businesses, specifically Boeing or nearby LBCC students, rarely if ever came in.
“Our main support came from our neighbors in Lakewood Village north of the shop,” Neil explained. “They walked or biked to our place so the lack of parking didn’t affect them. All in all, it was a great learning experience and hopefully we will be able to partner with someone and expand on this concept in the future.”
There’s no question: we’re going to miss what I once called one of Long Beach’s essential breakfast joints. After all, Bigmista’s Morning Wood—unquestionably the best damn name for a breakfast joint ever uttered—came with a Southern, rooster-crowin’ hospitality at its finest.
Even worse, I will miss the plate I loved most: Aaron’s Fattie Benedict, one of the best clogged-artery-inducing breakfast plates I’ve ever had the decadent experience of having. And why this dish—two biscuits topped with two thick-ass sausage patties, some poaches eggs, and smothered in some Lawd-this-has-got-to-be-lard gravy—made me so happy is that they knew to separate their BBQ joint from Morning Wood.
Alas, we still have the Sammich shop (which sits on my most underrated Long Beach grub hubs list).
“In the meantime, folks can still come to Bigmista’s Barbecue and Sammich Shop on Los Coyotes and Wardlow and experience some of the best BBQ in the city,” Neil said.
FYI: You can catch Phyllis this Sunday at the Michelle Obama Public Library in North Long Beach. Mrs. Strawder wrote a book, Morgan Mischief, the story of a girl that Phyllis says “has way too much imagination.” The event is free and you can RSVP here.