#LocalGems: We talked with the owner of one of the hottest BBQ food trucks in Houston, Texas. Here’s what he had to share.

Shrimp Kabobs, Lobster Tails, Chicken Kabobs, & Boudin

It’s hard to know where to go for picking homemade barbecue in the Lone Star State of Texas.

I traveled southeast to the city of Houston, where I undercovered a city gem, Chef Thomas McWashington of Good to the Bone. The city is home to countless places to eat and dozens of cuisines.

But, I found my chosen spot.

Chef Thomas McWashington was catering a gathering I attended, and the menu included sausage (beef, pork, or mixture), chicken, ribs, boudin, and kabobs. One thing I noticed, while barbecue sauce was present, I rarely saw anyone using the supplied sauces, it was an option. Most importantly, his work station was clean.

I recently had the honor to interview Chef Thomas McWashington about his business. I got there and was greeted by his beautiful wife. The famous Southern hospitality began!

Chef Thomas McWashington

Good to the Bone is a food truck and catering black business solely owned by Chef Thomas McWashington, which in the future he plans on expanding to a brick and mortar.

He came up with the name when diners told him his food was “Good to the Bone”, and he adapted the name from there. Chef Thomas McWashington’s first food truck is already a hit with some Texans. Now that I know where Good to the Bone started, I wanted to dive deeper into the business side aspect.

What does your menu look like?

“The most ordered item is BBQ ribs, brisket, and sausage. I am a chef with diverse culinary experience. Some of the items I have cooked are Mexican, Italian, and the Caribbean. Desserts. I like to create new dishes, therefore, nothing is off-limit. I also have chef specials which may be slider sandwiches, fish, or the chef’s favorite selection.”

I can attest to that, as I have had some Jerk chicken from Good to the Bone, and they taste just like Scotchies jerk chicken in Jamaica.

What were some of the first steps you did to break into your business?

“I obtained the necessary license to own and operate a food truck. It was a very tedious process that I never stop pursuing. The initial process was confusing because I got the wrong license so now I have more than needed to operate within Harris County. My advice would be to go in person to the city and see what is needed to own and operate a food truck. Also attending a small business class would be helpful in getting the right information needed for your business.”

They are many aspiring young black business owners who need to know about breaking into entrepreneurship; what are some things you would tell them?

“Believe in your product and have a plan. Have enough resources to carry your business. For those of you considering the full-time freelance plunge, set up a savings account with enough funds to cover at least six months’ worth of bills. This will give you a buffer to help with your budget. Find a mentor to show you how your business should go. Ask for help because you can learn something from others in the industry. “

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”

 – Thomas Watson Sr., Chef Thomas’s Favorite Quote

There is a preconception about starting a business: quit your job, become a business owner, and everything is up from there, is it really like that?

“No, this is not true. Don’t quit your job just yet. Hard work and sweat is a must. It has not been easy, it is a daily challenge. I never wanted to give up because this is my dream and I get up every day wanting to make today better than yesterday. My motivation is not to fail and to be successful. One of my biggest struggles was not having enough available resources to start a food truck. I would tell someone else to step out on faith, and if you know you have the product that someone wants, go for it.”

If I had one thing to change, “I would have started Good to the Bone earlier in life.”

In addition to the interview, I received a cooking lesson on how to make Crisp Apple bites, and got some barbecue to take back with me to Cali! All in all, a good day!

If you’re ever around Houston or its surrounding areas, you can reach out to Chef Thomas through Facebook messenger, or email him at thomasmcwashington@outlook.com.

Written by Kyleni Rivers

Kyleni is a Software Developer, and world traveling philanthropist. She is currently writing some books, starting her own business, and creating a philanthropy organization. In her free time, she teaches investing, coding, and technologies workshops/lessons, travels, volunteers, and learns new spoken languages. She goes by the motto, “Instead of buying your kids what you didn’t have, teach them what you were never taught.” Although she has no kids, she puts into perspective that she wants to teach the youth she mentors what she was never given the opportunity to learn as a kid.