For 26 years, the name Little Richard’s BBQ has been synonymous with tradition and excellence. With four locations and a strategic growth plan in place, Little Richard’s is a favorite for many reasons, but uncompromising service and quality have solidified their placement in the Triad.
The History of Little Richard’s BBQ
Founder Nick Karagiorgis was in the restaurant equipment business before he became a restaurant owner himself. After several attempts to convince Lexington barbeque restaurateurs to expand to Winston-Salem, Nick did it himself. “The original Little Richard’s was on Country Club Road,” said Nick. “I opened it with my business partner, Gary Sizemore, in 1991. About a year later, we took on a third partner, Richard Berrier, and subsequently opened a second location in Clemmons. Within a few years, we all mutually decided to break up the partnership and split up our stores by a simple coin toss. Berrier would remain at the Country Club Road location and Gary and I would operate our second location in Clemmons.” Within a few years of operating together, Gary passed away after an unfortunate battle with cancer, and Little Richard’s BBQ is now owned and operated by the Karagiorgis family.
Little Richard’s name was inspired by the singer, Little Richard, of “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” fame. “We went back and forth on names. Gary and I finally named the restaurant after him when driving down the road and listening to his tunes on the radio,” revealed Nick. “However, years later, the name has caused quite a bit of confusion.”
“When Gary and I parted ways with our third partner, we agreed to legally share the Little Richard’s BBQ name. Therefore, two separate businesses shared the name, but over time, we had developed different menus and different operating procedures. When my son decided to join the business, I decided it was time to eliminate the confusion once and for all. We worked out an agreement over the name, and Little Richard’s BBQ is now exclusive to our business.”
A few years ago, Nick was joined by his son, Stephen, who spent his childhood well immersed in the business. “I grew up working in the restaurant,” said Stephen. “I’ve done it all, from bussing tables, waiting on customers, cooking and clean up, to smoking meats, and everything in between. My dad wasn’t expecting me to join him, and I’m thankful he left the decision to me. After I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, I could see so many opportunities for the business.”
Nick said, “It’s been great to have Stephen on board. I had high expectations, and he’s exceeded even those. We have two perspectives from two generations that when combined allow for a unique product. Stephen is now running the day-to-day operations of our locations, but I still remain well immersed in the details of our business.”
“It’s an exciting time at Little Richards BBQ,” Stephen remarked. “We are evolving and growing. We are making changes that will keep us relevant, such as the inclusion of online ordering from our website and a modified rebranding campaign. But no matter what changes from an operations standpoint—the quality of food and service will stay the same. We have a 26-year-reputation for excellence, and we’re not going to compromise that standard at all. The changes we are working on are about continued growth for the next 26+ years and beyond.”
Stephen shared, “Every Little Richards BBQ location has an onsite pit-master to oversee our in-house smoked meats. However, all recipes are sampled out of the Clemmons location. We never rush the process, because we know that slow is better. And we’ll never rush a new recipe. We take our time and make sure we get it right before we add anything to the menu.”
“Since we opened, I’ve had three priorities that I’ve told my managers and employees,” explained Nick. “First, we serve good food. Second, we offer good service. And third, we give our customers a clean place to eat. There’s nothing optional about these three. Getting two out of three isn’t good enough. We want our customers to experience good food, good service, and a clean environment with every visit.”
“Being locally owned and operated is a big responsibility,” said Nick. “We do our best to give back to the community who supports us, and for the last 19 years, we have sponsored the Thanksgiving dinner for Samaritan Ministries.”
Stephen chimed in, “It’s a great experience. We actually have so many volunteers now that we have to turn down help! We bring décor, food, and do what we can to make it an exciting ‘restaurant’experience for the ones we serve.”
“We are also working on some other great community initiatives as we grow,” disclosed Stephen. “We have some exciting projects in the works, and I look forward to sharing them with the community very soon!”
Little Richard’s BBQ is located in Clemmons, Yadkinville, Mt. Airy, and Walkertown. Visit them online at LittleRichardsBarbecue.com to see menus for each location, or order online. Be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram. Little Richard’s BBQ is always accepting job applications.
Little Richard’s BBQ offers up a great variety of delicious smoked meats daily—from pork barbeque, beef brisket, hickory smoked sausage, to smoked chicken, and ribs. The menu features their signature-smoked meats in everything from traditional plates and trays to salads, wraps, and sandwiches. Served with generous sides, Little Richard’s BBQ offers something for everyone in the family. Little Richards BBQ also offers catering services and can feed groups up to 500.
“We were very happy with everything here! The food tasted great, with huge portions, and was not overpriced. Very friendly waitress with quick service!” ~Beth W.