Business is smokin’ at new BBQ joint

Photo courtesy Homestead BBQ Facebook


FERDINAND — For Brandon Whitis, business is smokin’.

Whitis opened Homestead BBQ — a brick-and-mortar version of his food truck by the same name — in Ferdinand earlier this month, and consistently sells out of his hickory-smoked barbecue.

“People like it,” he said. “I opened this because I saw a need, and I like filling that need, serving people and making them happy.”

Located at 2005 Main St. — the same location that previously housed PJ’s BBQ — Whitis is still in the early days of his barbecue business, but that hasn’t stopped his restaurant from becoming a gathering place.

On Friday, a group of men stopped in for lunch. As they were heading out, one of them stopped to compliment Whitis on the food and comment on some of the decor — an antique Holland Dairy tray hangs on the wall, surrounded by antique kitchen utensils. On another wall, rustic wood shelves hang, with another shelf in a corner. The corner shelf, too, has a couple local antiques on it.

He’s still looking for antiques, by the way. His end goal is to create a dining room following the Americana style — an interior design theme that is usually a combination of patriotic, rustic and country items.

“Like what Cracker Barrel has,” Whitis said.

For Whitis, running Homestead BBQ is a chance to live life on his time. An Indianapolis native, Whitis went to college for business and worked as a restaurant consultant for several years before deciding that corporate life wasn’t for him. He decided to move to Southern Indiana and now lives the country life on a lake.

Homestead BBQ came about after a guy asked for Whitis’ help setting up a food truck. By the time Whitis had all the paperwork done for the business, the guy decided he didn’t want to run a food truck anymore. Rather than let his work go to waste, Whitis decided he’d run the food truck. That was the summer of 2018.

About a year and a half later, the food truck grew into the brick-and-mortar restaurant. Whitis still plans to run his food truck, too, and you can catch that this weekend at the Rosenvolk Festival. And Whitis already knows the next phase of growth: a delivery service that operates in Ferdinand.

Homestead BBQ is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Follow the restaurant on Facebook at

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