Veterans Front and Center at Red White and Que

Jul 19, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The Red White and Que Smokehouse does more than offer savory barbecue selections – it also looks to play a major role in reaching out to help area veterans.

The business opened July 8 at 34 South Main St. (Route 9) in Barnegat Township in the former site of the Shore Fire Grill. Restaurant manager Ken Ventre said two other locations are in the works, at 857 Mill Creek Rd. in Stafford Township and 115 Mathistown Rd. in Little Egg Harbor Township.

“The Barnegat restaurant has tables to eat in, but the other two locations will be strictly takeout,” said Ventre. “We hope to have the Manahawkin location open this month and the Little Egg one in August.”

Ventre said the smokehouse is noted for its slow-cooked Texas style brisket of beef, along with St. Louis style ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken and chicken wings. Side dishes include baked beans, potato salad, collard greens, coleslaw and jalapeño cheddar cornbread. In addition, he said, the menu is highly customized so customers can sample a little bit of everything by building their own platter.

“Everything is prepared and cooked here,” he said. “The response since opening has been great. There really is a big need for this type of business on the mainland in Southern Ocean County.”  

Ventre said the restaurant has four other locations in North Jersey, with the first one opened last year by Dan and Katie Misuraca. Dan, who served in the Marine Corps from 1992 to 1996, recalled one time he was reliving his Marine days with his wife, Katie, over a plate of slow-smoked brisket. It gave him the idea of  “owning a little place and serve the kind of food that he loves to make and feed to all of his friends.”

“For us at Red White and Que, barbecue is more than just delicious food,” he said. “It represents a rebellious spirit while still holding fast to old-school American traditions. It’s the food we eat when we come together with friends and neighbors in celebration.”

Prior to opening the restaurant, the couple worked for a corporate shoe retailer. That was where they met, as they were both store managers and district sales managers.

“Kearny was their shot at the American Dream.” the company’s website says. “Much to their delight the little smokehouse took off. Red White & Que Smokehouse has since been named on lists of top BBQ restaurants in NJ and has created a cult-like following of BBQ lovers. Dan and Katie have always been committed to making a positive difference in their community through giving back and now by creating jobs too.”

“He believes strongly in hiring veterans,” said Ventre, who served in the U.S. Air Force.

Ventre said another way of reaching out to veterans is by inviting men and women who served in the armed forces to a free pig roast, paid through donations accepted at the restaurant.

On one of the walls is a sign that says anyone who knows of veteran in crisis may call 800-273-8255.

“I also want to get in touch and meet people from the local veteran organizations,” said Ventre.

In North Jersey, the owners have partnered with local veterans organizations to provide meals to needy veterans, including monthly dinners at a transitional home for veterans.

“Hopefully, in time, we can do something like that here, too,” said Ventre.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Telephone is 609-994-2650.  

— Eric Englund

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