Lahontan Valley News, Fallon, NV.
Norman and Susie Westgate, own and operate Susie’s BBQ, a Fallon catering business
Have barbecue, will travel
By Becky Bosshart
Susie’s BBQ owners Norman and Susie Westgate have started several small businesses in the past, and crisscrossed the United States doing it. Now they hope to take their portable barbecue business to the big leagues.
The Fallon couple started their business in 1997 and they now have two portable cookers.
“We do catering, private parties, any reason for a good barbecue,” Norman Westgate said Tuesday in his home. Susie was cooking piccalilli, a Cuban dish, for dinner. The aroma lingered in the air. “We show up at the Blue Grass Festival, the farmers markets.”
Westgate also works as a carpenter in Fernley, until barbecue can bring in the big bucks.
“We’ll be buying a new cooker October or November that can put 500 pounds of meat in at one time. That’ll put us into the big leagues.
“We want to cook for a living.”
The Westgates’ schedule for the year sounds like the trek of a new reality-based television show. They’re going to rib and steak cookoffs in Florida, California and Nevada, Wyo. For a July 4th celebration, and Sturgess, S.D. for the 2003 Harley-Davidson convention.
He said the most enjoyable part about the barbecue business is the competitions, and “finding out how good you are.”
Susie’s BBQ came in fourth place this year out of 15 in the Nevada State Barbecue championships.
Westgate said the biggest challenge is setting up and taking down, especially in bad weather.
He said one of their dreams is to take the barbecuing inside. But what holds them back are all the financial hurdles involved in opening a restaurant.
“We’ve kind of worked for ourselves most the time, but never had one take off and make a million dollars.”
The Westgates have sold real estate, Amyway products and long-distance cell phone service. He was a professional bowler who retired from the circuit in 1986.
Susie Westgate came from a Cuban step-family in Key West, Fla. While there they came in contact with one of the Key’s most notable names.
“We used to throw pennies and quarters at Jimmy Buffett at Mallory Square before everyone knew of him, before he got big.”
The couple married in 1981 and have two daughters, Marsha, 17, and Holly, 13.
The Westgates run Susie’s BBQ out of their home.