Weekly Business Profile
The Powdrell's Barbeque
5209 Fourth Street NW
Albuquerque NM 87107
“It grows as it goes” is New Mexico’s state motto. That best describes the past 50 years for Mr. Powdrell's Barbeque.
When did the first Powdrell’s open and where was it located?
In June of 1962 on the corner of Broadway and Southern in southeast Albuquerque, Pete and Catherine, the founders of Powdrell's Barbeque, opened their first restaurant. They had just moved to Albuquerque from West Texas. Barbeque had a small presence in the city at the time. There was a Texas barbeque franchise called Underwood’s, Brenda’s BBQ, the barbeque of Mrs. Virginia Ballou, a local entrepreneur, and several others. It was that year that Powdrell's added its flavor to Albuquerque’s menu.
What makes great barbeque?
Our parents always encouraged and instructed us to think of barbeque as an art form—to each his own art. Never compete to be the best, and always do “your” best. The fundamentals of barbeque we all have in common. Of greater importance is how you “fire” the process of your life. Secondly it‘s how you employ the “art” of barbequing. Thirdly it’s what you use physically, spiritually and socially to season your product. We use natural wood hickory, slow-smoked with an original natural barbecue sauce. We keep a spirit of joy and celebration about barbeque. That’s what a barbeque is—a good time, with good people and good food. It should always be cooked with those ingredients in mind.
Where did Powdrell’s move from the first location on Broadway?
Growth took us from Broadway to a number of other locations where you would find the distinct odor of hickory-smoked goodness. By 1969 it was Gibson and Carlisle. By 1971 it was San Pedro and Kathryn SE. In 1973 came our first owned location on east Central. Product demand grew and so did the opportunities. In 1979 the smell of hickory could be found in downtown Albuquerque. And by 1983 other locations would follow: One on Montgomery east of San Mateo, Fourth Street south of Montaño, and Coors north of I-40 . Today there are two locations, east Central and north Fourth Street, south of Montaño.
Fifty years in business is pretty exceptional. What were some of your most memorable moments?
Growth demands that you develop the ability to produce more product. In 1971 we went from making our sauce two gallons at a time to 55 gallons per batch. That was a big step. Also, we aggressively engaged in concessions at the New Mexico State Fair. People from all throughout New Mexico could find the taste of Powdrell’s Barbeque. We were at the New Mexico State Fair for 31 years. It was so exciting and very important to the growth and popularity of our business. 1981 we got in on the ground floor of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. It gave us an international response to our food. Our capabilities would continue to grow. By 1994 Powdrell’s catered a huge event in Window Rock, Ariz., for 10,000 people. It was so empowering. In October of 2009 we were blessed to win the “Rock This Restaurant” makeover contest, following a fire we had at the Central location in September of 2008. There are too many to mention.
What is Mr. Powdrell’s Barbeque doing to celebrate this milestone?
We’d like to share this celebration with our customers and the greater community. We want everybody to have a barbecue this summer, one way or another. We will be offering our “50 Year BBQ Pack,” enough for 6 to 8 people for $50. It is regularly a $75 value. It includes barbeque, side dishes, bread and some extra sauce. It will be available until July 31 at both locations. Call or visit us online at mrpowdrellsbbq.com.
Anything else you’d like to say to readers in Albuquerque and throughout the state?
We would like for you to know that we still love making barbeque, we truly enjoy your company and sincerely appreciate your patronage.
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