Through its Restaurant of the Year Award, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council recognizes restaurant owners and managers for their efforts in preparing and promoting quality pork products.
The 2017 Restaurant of the Year award winner is Big J’s Roadhouse of Humboldt, South Dakota. Big J’s Roadhouse was a dream of Justin and Tina Kjellsen for years before they had a physical restaurant. The Kjellsen’s started out selling brats and burgers at different events around the country, eventually adding BBQ to our menu. Even from the beginning feedback from their guests helped shape who they are today. They would talk to their guests, using feedback to improve our food quality and service, never feeling satisfied until they felt they had the best ribs and pork they could make.
A little over three years ago, Justin and Tina got the opportunity to take their dream to the next level with Big J’s Roadhouse. They used everything we learned on the road, and put it into the restaurant. Even with Big J’s, they still do outside events, never forgetting their roots. Whether in the open air at events, or in the four walls of their restaurant, Justin and Tina still make it a priority to talk to every single person they serve, and they never stop listening to feedback.
The Kjellsen’s have traveled to art festivals, powwows, fairs and the Sturgis bike rally. At the Art Festivals, they would smoke cases of pork and ribs and still sell out. When they would sell food in Sturgis they had a refrigerated semi to hold the pallets of pork butts, spare ribs, and fresh burger.
Even though they have added other smoked items to their menu, such as brisket and wings, they still sell over 16,000 pounds of Ribs and 20,000 pounds of pork a year. As they grow as a company, their goal is to one day be one of the biggest sellers of pork in the country.
Kjellsen stated he appreciated the change to get an associate’s degree with the help of Oneida Higher Education funds to help him start his own business. He also thanked his crew for all their hard work, that the Big J’s Roadhouse success is a team effort.