By the Bay

The law of the grill in Cayucos

July 22, 2013 

Kismet, or life’s intended journey, led John and Meredith Fennacy to their landlord, Morro Bay real estate agent Dan Reddell. Reddell wanted a business offering a professional service to lease the building next to his Bayshore Realty office at 560 Morro Bay Blvd. And just to broaden his pool of clients, he also believed the location was perfect for barbecue and had a pending use permit just in case he could find the perfect restaurateur.

“Growing up in Fresno, Dad always barbecued,” John Fennacy said. “Everyone always ate at our house. When our kids (Blaine and Logan) were younger, we’d enter barbecue contests for our vacations. Barbecue people are purists. Abide by the judge’s rules or don’t play. We learned barbecue was an art and science. Tech was the science; the look and smells the art.”

John’s parents, Jack and Brenda Fennacy, moved to Cayucos thinking the kids would follow. John and Meredith switched vacation venues before they made it permanent. They developed Big Daddy’s Hot Dogs and Brickhouse BBQ to vend at festivals like the Cayucos Fourth of July parade, Morro Bay Harbor Festival, Pismo Car Show and Clam Festival.

Four years ago, John downsized his Fresno law practice to focus on elder law and estate planning in Morro Bay.

“I worked from home and passed by Bayshore every day to go to the post office. One day Dan put a sign up on the property. I thought it would be a great law office. Meredith said we didn’t need it, but we looked anyway. We made our decisions when we learned we lived in Dan’s former residence and that he was scheduled to appear at the planning commission for a barbecue permit. Before we signed the lease, we attended the meeting and Dan introduced us by joking we were the new owners — a law office that would offer barbecue — the ‘Sue & Q.’ ”

“Our heart was with the law practice. Barbecue became how we gave back to the community,” Meredith Fennacy said.

They are active in Morro Bay Rotary and police and fire nonprofits. But when Blaine Fennacy and his best friend, Scott Yamato, were serious about a barbecue carry-out business at the office, the partnership was born. They serve Central Coast-style ribs, tri tip, pulled pork and chicken. Meredith Fennacy makes the sauces. Her Parmesan green beans are popular.

It’s been almost a month since they opened, and Blaine Fennacy said it’s more than he and Scott Yamato hoped for. Meredith Fennacy is happy people enjoy eating what their family cooks at home, and John Fennacy is still a believer in “peace, love and barbecue.”

Logan Fennacy , however, is off to become a lawyer, who will come home on breaks to barbecue.

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at 801-1422 or judysalamacha@gmail.com .

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