It all began with a friend’s joke who told me “hey, you are unemployed, Why don’t you sell your sandwiches?” and I told him “and who would to buy me?”. This is how  René Ramirez’ story started, a Salvadoran who is considered like the Barbecue King in Los Angeles, California. He is known by his friends and clients as Ray. He is a Salvadoran entrepreneur who, when unemployed, found in barbecues, not just a source of income, but a passion that has made him the Barbecue King. He started selling sandwiches in his backyard where he got success because of his quality, unique flavor and excellent service, so then he founded Ray’s BBQ, a Tejano style restaurant with a Salvadoran inspiration. Read more about Ray in the following interview:

 

You have always liked to cook?

No! The necessity makes you find passion you never known you have.

 

How did you find your passion?

It’s funny because I like BBQ, but I didn’t know how to cook. So I told myself, “Well, I don’t have anymore money, what can I do? Learn to cook”. Everything began with a friend’s joke.

 

How did Ray’s BBQ  began?

The dream to have my own restaurant began when my sales and clients increased, I couldn’t stay any more time at my backyard. I realized that I needed to take a bigger step and I started with the permissions. My mother lent me her signature for the lease cause is necessary have a great credit and I had lost my job in those days. So she put her signature and I put the money. Everything I bought was used, but only this way we could start with the restaurant. It were 8 weekends without stopping.

 

What is the specialty of Ray’s BBQ?

In the beginning were ribs and nachos. Now it’s a dish known as Brisket, it’s  the cow’s chest and it is traditionally cooked together with ribs in Texas. I have the advantage  that, here in California, nobody has been able to perfect it like I do, because it took  me 10 months to learn how to cook it.

 

What are the main achievements that you have had?

One day a BBQ critic from Los Angeles visited us. He came to eat here and qualified us as the best place to enjoy a barbecue in Los Angeles. He wrote an article and that way our popularity started. Also, last year we appeared in Los Angeles Times’ cover page. But I consider the main one is that we are the unique restaurant in the last 4 years at California that has a review on Texas Monthly magazine which are known as the gods and critics of BBQ and after this recognition the great contracts for our restaurant started.

 

What is the most sold plate?

The plate most sold has been the Brisket Sandwich that comes from the cow’s chest. It brings half a pound of meat, two pickles, and brioche’s bread which is not like hamburgers.

 

How many employees does the restaurant have right now?

We are a family business. My wife, my son and I work full time there. We also have 2 people who work every day with us.

 

How do you feel when the people call you as the BBQ King of Los Angeles?

I feel so happy because we went from having nothing and now the people says that we have the best Brisket they can find. Also, in the street I meet people who ask me “Are you from Ray’s BBQ? Wow, that place is famous,  actors and cooking experts have arrived there”.

 

What do you think has been the secret for your success ?

The success comes from cooking the best we can and give our clients an excellent service and show that El Salvador is more than pupusas and showcase our entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.