By GWEN SISSON
Barry Wood said valuable employees play an important role in everything that is successful at The Little Dooey.
“I give God all the credit,” Wood said. “He has blessed us with good people who know how to cook. We have valuable employees who have been with us for 20 to 25 years. That just doesn’t happen very often in the restaurant business.”
Wood said the same women who made slaw for the restaurant in 1985, are making slaw today.
“These people care about the food and about our customers,” Wood said. “You can taste the pride they put into everything they make.”
Great food and great people are just part of the reason Starkville Daily News readers have given The Little Dooey the Best Barbecue and The Best Local Owned Restaurant Awards in the 2011 Readership Poll.
The restaurant was also received first place for Best Barbecue in the Best of Mississippi 2011 Awards from Mississippi Magazine.
And in Maxim magazine’s 2011 Food and Drink Awards, The Little Dooey, was listed in the top five Best Lunches in the nation. The restaurant was the only Mississippi-based restaurant listed in the nominations in all categories.
Jack Holland, general manager for The Little Dooey, said the recognition means a lot to the restaurant.
“It tells us we have a good product that appeals to a lot of people,” Holland said. “For over 25 years, we have been creating a solid product with good service. That means a lot.”
The award-winning business began as a little competition between his mother-in-law and Jack Scales.
When friends would gather over the weekends, the two had a great time trying to out-do one another in the kitchen. The best dish of the night was called “The Little Dooey.” This went on for years.
Barry Wood sold insurance for 25 years, and on the side, he would cook barbecue chicken and pulled pork for fund raisers throughout the Starkville area. When they told friends and family about their restaurant idea, they all agreed the name had to be “The Little Dooey.”
At that time, no one had a restaurant serving barbecue chicken and ribs in this area, so the Wood family began to consider the possibilities. They opened a small restaurant as part of gas station in town. Wood had been unintentionally building his business for years by building his reputation through his work with local fund raisers, so it didn’t take long for the restaurant to outgrow the gas station.
When they found the “little red house” on Fellowship Street in Starkville, across from the cemetery, Wood thought it was the perfect home for The Little Dooey, but everyone else thought he was crazy.
“It’s all about serving good food,” Wood said. “People will go and find good food. It doesn’t really matter about the location.”
Wood said he knew when he saw the building, it was supposed to be the home of The Little Dooey.
Since 1985, The Little Dooey has stood for good friends, good fellowship and good food. And they have built a reputation in Starkville and throughout the nation as one of the best places for barbecue in the South.
Barry and his wife, Margaret Ann, love every minute of their work. Wood said Margaret Ann is the originator of all of the side dishes and desserts that take The Little Dooey from a barbecue place to a dining experience.
“The corn salad, the slaw and the baked beans are all secret family recipes that have made the restaurant great,” Wood said. “She (Margaret) is The Little Dooey. I can’t boil water or run a microwave. All of the food comes from her recipes, or family dishes and she makes sure everything is up to her standards.”
For more about The Little Dooey, go to http://www.littledooey.com , call 323-6094 or stop by the “little red house” at 100 Fellowship Street in Starkville.