Ricewood BBQ opened for the 2016 season at 11:08 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2. Frank Fejeran and his crew took the order for ticket number 50, a order of brisket (spicy) on rice ($12), with a side of cucumber salad and a Kool Aid ($1) to drink, at 11:38 a.m. About six minutes later my order was up, packaged to go in a sturdy container.
The line at that time still stretched from the truck next to the Morgan and York entrance in the courtyard at 1928 Packard Road south through the snowy parking lot out to Jorn Court. At 12:43 p.m. there was still a line, albeit a shorter line, and ticket 102 was served to Dan Freidus, a numismatist from Barton Hills known for his 1994 study of the Higley Coppers who joined me there1.
At about a minute a ticket, the line was moving at a deliberate and steady pace. Parking behind Morgan and York was tight, with Michigan State Police patrol car 1221 taking advantage of an open spot in front of the dumpster. The patrolman had an animated conversation with an MLive reporter, Jessica Webster, who was covering the event, and they exchanged cards.
Frank spent some of his time in the truck, a black Grumman, and some tending to his two smokers: a Meadow Creek that had been in use in 2015, and a new smoker acquired that had been put to new use preparing 16 orders of BBQ chicken.
The chicken is an addition to the 2016 menu;
old favorites brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder are back for another season. (The menu is painted onto a board
on the side of the truck.) I didn't have the chicken, so I can't comment from direct experience, though it looked (and smelled) good. My spicy brisket was quite tasty , but was definitely a first-day-of-issue brisket, and when I spoke with Frank the next day he had adjusted the thermometers on his smokers so that he could get more accurate temperature control over the 16 hours that it takes to get a finished product. (I'll be back to try it again.) Several sauces are in squeeze bottles on the side, and sauce tubs are provided. The cucumber salad was cool and crunchy and a refreshing contrast to the spicy rice. Those who like less can order it "gringo".
@ricewoodbbq Twitter account providing this reporter with the most up to date and timely information. "49 hours and 7 minutes" was the tweet on Monday at 9:53 a.m., and they were within 8 minutes of predicting the opening time to the minute. On the morning of the opening, the press gathered inside Morgan and York "in the press pen" - prompting John Hritz to ask "Are you being kettled?" - to gossip or to work on other stories. Ricewood also has a vigorous following on Instagram and fed the flames of anticipation with photos of the work in progress.
Ricewood is located the courtyard at 1928 Packard Road, behind Morgan and York and next to Garrett Scott, Bookseller, between Coler Road and Jorn Court in Larrytown. Hours are Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (or sold out).
Credit card receipts from their Square card reader say "Franklin Fejeran"; cash is of course always accepted, with $1s and $5s appreciated. You can also see Ricewood at the inaugural Waterloo Grit and Gravel bicycle race, March 19, 2016 at the Waterloo Recreational Area, 11500 Seymour Road, in Grass Lake for the post-race feast.
1 Daniel Freidus, "The History and Die Varieties of the Higley Coppers" in The Token: America's Other Money, ed. by Richard G. Doty, Coinage of the Americas Conference, October 29, 1994, New York: American Numismatic Society.