Mike Anderson’s began conceptually when Mike’s father, Howard Anderson, was laid off from his long time position as a regional sales manager at a nationally recognized toy manufacturer. The year was 1982, Howard was 56 years young then and it seemed corporate America was not looking to hire well compensated, near retirement aged sales guys.
Meanwhile, the family of Charles Marshall had been making East Texas BBQ for a living for 50 years or so. Whelp, as fate would have it, Mike Anderson and Tom Marshall became good friends. Tom is Charles Marshall’s oldest son. You see, Mike and Tom played for one of the top club soccer teams in the Great State of Texas, Dallas Titans ’64, and had the good fortune of playing tournament soccer all over the United States. They were also pals on the Warren Travis White High School Rodeo Team.
A friendship emerged between the two families and Howard and Charles bought a struggling Epp’s BBQ as a partnership with hope of getting Howard back in the good graces of the working class. Epp’s BBQ, at that time, had become the kinda joint Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible would have a hissy fit about. Cigarette and hickory smoke stained ceilings, filthy worn out carpeting in the dining room, tile walkways worn through to the concrete and so on. It was the kinda place that upon walking in you thought…..this place has really worn down some people. Restaurant work ain’t easy, you know!
Mike, who was 18 years old, came in to help out his Dad shortly thereafter and they began to make a little money in a few years and figure out what it means to be in a family business as well as what it takes to take one from zero to hero. They began to recognize each others strengths and weaknesses and shaped the business model based upon that. It took about 10 years for Mike to fully release his other pursuits and commit fully to the then Anderson’s BBQ House. Howard was able to buy out Charles’ interest in the business during that time and now it was game on for the Anderson family.
The business began to prosper and the transition from father to son had begun by the mid 1990’s. The name was changed to Mike Anderson’s BBQ House by the year 2000 for two reasons. One was to signify the handoff from one generation to another and secondly to honor Mike’s dad who spent his life going by the nickname “Mike.”