VooDoo BBQ & Grill boasts New Orleans-style barbecue, a distinctive atmosphere, and a rapidly growing franchise system. But it hasn’t yet set foot on the Westbank side of the Mississippi River in its own hometown.
Steve Stumpf plans to change that by opening a VooDoo BBQ location on busy Lapalco Boulevard in Harvey, Louisiana, aiming to lure workers at nearby industrial plants and residents to savor competition-style barbecue for lunch and dinner.
“I just saw a void on the Westbank. There's really no good barbecue over here, and I like the VooDoo concept, its food, and quality of service,” says Stumpf, 42, a New Orleans native who lives in the neighboring suburb of Gretna. “I like that it's New Orleans-style barbecue, something that started here … There’s just a mystique and atmosphere around VooDoo.”
Stumpf and his business partner signed a franchise agreement with VooDoo’s home office in March and hope to open before the end of the year. They’re negotiating for the property and a building that could usher in a new feature for a VooDoo BBQ restaurant: a drive-thru window.
“The drive-thru window is an interesting idea, and we’ll be watching closely to see if it’s a feature we should add to other locations,” says VooDoo BBQ CEO Tony Avila.
“We’re very happy to have a footprint on the Westbank, a growing area with more than 300,000 people. We’ve spent the last several months expanding to the Carolinas, Florida and Texas, but we want to make sure we maintain a strong presence in the New Orleans area, and we’re excited to have someone as experienced as Steve to help us do that.”
Stumpf understands how to operate a successful barbecue restaurant. For five years, he managed the Metairie location of Memphis-based Corky’s Ribs & BBQ and briefly co-owned the chain’s franchise location in Baton Rouge.
Since 2009, he and a team of investors have owned and operated three stores for Izzo’s Illegal Burrito, a Baton Rouge-based system of fast casual Mexican eateries.
“I still have barbecue in my blood, and I’m familiar with VooDoo from the time they opened. Even when I was working at Corky's, I knew VooDoo had a great product,” Stumpf says.