MILLINGTON — Pastor Darrell Boyd has several passions in his life.
He loves family and friends, meanwhile dedicating some time to being a big-time NASCAR fan. Boyd always had a love for making barbecue working alongside the late David Stroud winning a world championship in 2001.
Add Boyd’s calling of being a minister, and all those interests are under one roof at 7822 Highway 51 North in Millington with Smokin’ D’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Que. Boyd’s son Pastor David Boyd is the onsite manager helping to operate his father’s dream and mission.
“We love barbecue,” David said. “We started off on Austin Peay Highway in a concession stand. And we just started selling out of our concession stand on weekends. It was something we became real passionate about.
“As we progressed further into that, he wanted to be able to make a place of business so we can get women off the street and put them into the job world,” he continued. “This is just the start of that. God opened up the opportunity to be able to open this place. Through that we’ve been able to open all kinds of people. This place is a ministry.”
That became the soul mission for Smokin’ D’s.
“It’s one thing to open up a restaurant to serve great food and make money, it’s another thing to know as you’re doing that, you’re changing lives,” David said. “It puts an eternal purpose on the restaurant. It’s not just a worldly means of making money. We hope to better people for the future. We think of this as a launching pad for lives.”
In his spare time David tries to launch lives at Hope Assembly of God in Frayser on North Watkins. Meanwhile Darrell is the leader of the congregation at Memphis International Church in Memphis on Wells Station.
Back in May 2014 Smokin’ D’s became a part of the Boyds’ daily routine. Darrell initially was going into business with Stroud before his passing. Boyd used Stroud world championship style and recipe to create the menu at Smokin’ D’s.
“My Dad really wanted to open this in his name, Smokin’ David’s,” David Boyd said. “He ended up passing away, so my Dad also did this for him. It will kind of bring forward his legacy and he can continue.”
With Stroud’s methods and seasonings taking care of the barbecue and using his calling for the mission, Darrell and his wife Sharon encouraged family to work along with the employees seeking a better life.
Today’s staff consist of Dee and Cayla as cashiers with Elicia as manager. The pit masters are Jeff and Pedro. Other cooks are Jo and Austin.
The work of the Smokin’ D’s crew has them ranked as the No. 1 eatery in Millington on TripAdvisor.com out of 57 restaurants. And recently Smokin’ D’s was voted the best place for barbecue in Flag City by The Millington Star Readers’ Choice Awards.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” David said. “We had no idea we were going to be able to get to the point it was. Again we just opened it up because God wanted us to. We figured we were pretty good at what we did.
“And the one thing we hold on to, a lot restaurants when they get big, a big name and they get popular, they start to sacrifice their quality,” he added. “We made it a mission of our no matter how big we get the quality will never change. And I think that’s what people see in our food no matter how busy we get or how big we get.”
Since 2014 Smokin’ D’s has been a part of the Millington/South Tipton fabric with a local drag racer endorsing the restaurant. Local racers from Memphis International Raceway and workers frequent the eatery. Now Smokin’ D’s has 1,500 likes on Facebook.
And the home of Smokin’ D’s is a familiar stop for barbecue in Millington. The previous operation in that location was Barb-A-Rosa’s Real Pit Bar-B-Que.
“We just started looking and it really didn’t seem like anything was opening up,” Boyd recalled. “We ended up coming on this place. We used to go to church with a guy my Dad is pretty good friends with. His family owns this building. He told my Dad, ‘We have this old barbecue restaurant vacant now. If you would like to use it, we can give it to you for a good deal.’
“My Dad saw that as God,” David continued. “We were able to remodel this place and do everything we did here all debt free. People donated money to us. Obvious this is God and He wants us to do this. It took us a year to get everything remodeled and we opened up right after that.”
Now Smokin’ D’s is established in Millington, drawing in motorists with the exterior design featuring a checkered flag pattern.
“My Dad loves NASCAR,” David said. “He eats, sleeps and breaths NASCAR. So he combined two things he loved – barbecue and NASCAR. You always see barbecue at a race. My Dad kind of wanted to get this theme.
“One thing is the racing theme but we wanted to be quick service,” he added. “We wanted to get quality food out fast. So we called it Pit Stop BBQ because people should be able to get in and out fast like a pit stop. We stay behind that motto that it is going to be quality food served quickly.”
From the quality service to the Brunswick stew, brownies, bologna and pulled pork, the success of Smokin’ D’s is literally opening doors for changing lives. David and Darrell plan to use a portion of the profits to open the Memphis Dream Center to rescue women and children off the street. They want the center to be a place to teach the women job skills to create a second chance.
“A lot of people don’t leave the bad lifestyle that they’re in because they can’t find a way out,” David concluded. “We want to be able to provide them with skills that provide a way out.”
For more information and operation hours, call (901) 873-4970.