OAKLAND CITY — Making the career change from emergency personnel to the owner of a barbecue restaurant while being a full-time nursing student may sound strange to some, but for John Goodall it’s reality.

Goodall and his family open John’s Smokin’ BBQ, 410 S Gibson Street, Oakland City on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Tentative hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. They also offer catering.

Prior to the opening, Goodall hosts a fundraiser at 11 a.m. Saturday to help with funeral expenses for his mother Debbie.

“She always joked about how she wanted to be a door greeter,” Goodall said of his mother wanting to help at the restaurant.

He said they will also have a special of her favorite dishes to honor her: pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, and a drink for $6.

Goodall said it’s too late for pre-orders for Saturday, but they should have some extras for customers to purchase.

Goodall said it feels good to open his own business.

He said he remembers when he started barbecuing in the early 2000s, after his son Cody was born, and they had a Father’s Day cookout that year. They burned the chicken.

“It was just fun, we had a great time,” Goodall said.

Goodall said that as the years passed, they became better at cooking, and catered his niece’s wedding. After the wedding, many guests talked about how they enjoyed the food and wanted to visit his restaurant (that he didn’t have at the time).

“It was something to think about,” Goodall said.

Goodall went on to compete at barbecue competitions, taking home numerous first prizes.

He said he just enjoyed cooking for everyone and knew he wanted to start his own business.

Goodall said they pride themselves in being family-oriented and offering good food.

Mistie Cook of John’s Smokin’ BBQ said what makes their business different is they make everything themselves, from sauces to sides.

“This is something different for here,” Cook said.

Cook said she remembers there was a barbecue place beside their current location when she was growing up.

Before Goodall decided to open up his restaurant, he worked at the Gibson County Ambulance Service, Haubstadt Police Department and as a coal miner, but now he’s running a barbecue business while attending Ivy Tech University as a full-time nursing student.

Goodall said he believes he can balance his academic pursuits and his new business.

Goodall said they were set to open last year, but some unforeseen circumstances delayed the plans. A later, they’re ready to open.

“We want to bring good quality barbecue to East Gibson,” Goodall said.

For more information, call 812-749-9227 or visit John’s Smokin’ BBQ on Facebook.

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