History of Big Dave's
In August 1997, Jones opened a barbecue house under the name of Big Dave’s Famous BBQ & Catering Co. at 1618 White Horse Road, giving Carolinians a chance to experience “barbecue gone Texas” without actually having to travel to the distant Longhorn state. Motorists traveling White Horse Road near 1-85 cannot help but smell the delicious blend of meat and hickory coming from the outside cooker, as it is an aroma that is sure to make a hungry person stop in or a late person wish he had more time. Today, Big Dave's can be found in Clemson on US 123, (Tiger Boulevard).
When Jones’ barbecue hit Dallas, it took Texas by storm and now the state will never be the same again. And if his barbecue success in Dallas, Texas is any indication of the success he’ll have with his barbecue in his own hometown, then South Carolina hold on to your waistline, because it’s going to be Big Dave in the Carolinas with barbecue that’s gone hog wild.
Jones, who is a former Fountain Inn Police Officer with a background in psychology, was laid off in 1989 due to an accident which left him disabled for 2 years. His employer’s loss was barbecue lovers’ gain because he began cooking to fill some of the empty time on his hands.
His initial taste test came from his many neighbors in the exclusive apartment complex in Dallas where he lived with his wife, Patricia and children Kayla, Kristian, Kamille and David Jr.
“All the neighbors were all friendly and open with each other, and they would
come over a lot and taste my barbecue,” Jones said. “Every time one would taste
it, they would go and tell another... And it got to the point where the whole
complex was coming over to our house to eat our barbecue... There were about
1400 units in this apartment. So, I said to my wife, ‘I’m going to start asking
these people ‘would they buy this?” The response was overwhelming.
They said ‘buy it, I want to buy it now.’ And they would get mad at
us when we didn’t cook,” Jones continued with a smile. “The weekends
that we didn’t cook, they would knock on our door, mad at us.,"
This was in 1991 and the beginning of something big... and Jones, who is also in the ministry, said he knows his success is because God has had His hand in the mix of things as their confidence began to grow.
“More and more confidence developed within us,” Jones said. “... the confidence
of the product we had, confidence enough to walk to corporate companies with
sample platters, knock on their doors telling them we want to do business with
you all. I started off doing sample trays, offering companies to taste my
produce... Before I knew it we started becoming a catering service around
Feeding the World Champion Dallas Cowboys
It’s easy to guess which one of the people working at Big Dave’s is Big Dave himself. He’s the big, big, fella with the big, big, smile, welcoming you to his new barbecue restaurant in Clemson SC.
Dave is actually David Jones, former caterer for the Dallas Cowboys.
Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith LOVE David Jones’ barbecue; and his
pastas, and his seafood dishes, and his salads.
the Cowboys’ head trainer, Jones organized the menus for game days,
for practices and mini camps. Aikman, Smith and Tony Tolbert,
“Those guys would light up when they would see my barbecue on the
buffet table,” Jones says.
Jones understands a football player’s appetite. He played defensive tackle at Carolina High School and linebacker at North Carolina A&T. His weekend barbecues were so popular at his Texas apartment complex that Jones decided to take a chance and invest all of his savings in his own restaurant. “On weekends when my wife and I didn’t cook, the neighbors would knock at the door and they’d be mad, so I figured I ought to be able to earn my way with that food.” When he moved back to Greenville to be closer to his ailing mom and his family, he didn’t waste any time taking a sample tray of his barbecue to the executive chef of the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. They liked it SO much they ordered 400 pounds of smoked brisket to be served to players and sky-box guests for every home game this season at Ericcson Stadium. Still, Jones, a genial host who has a warm greeting for everyone who enters his new restaurant, misses his buddies in Dallas.
Many of the players had become personal friends. Cowboy Nate Newton once asked Jones to prepare Christmas dinner for Newton’s family, to be served following a Christmas day game. “Nate said he wanted a meal just like his mother would cook, but he didn’t want her to cook it, so I fixed up turkey and dressing and macaroni and cheese and turnip greens and drove 40 miles through a rare Dallas snow to deliver it.” On another occasion Newton called Jones’ Lil’ Red Barbecue Smokehouse Restaurant to request his own personal pan of ribs at a party Jones was catering. “He walked around that room all night carrying that big old pan of ribs.” says Jones, “and he ate it all.” Jones’ customers weren’t limited to football players. Once Larry Johnson, a professional basketball player, called one of Jones’ restaurants and asked if Jones could handle an impromptu birthday party.
“Certainly,” said Jones, happy for the business. But when the party cranked up, within minutes there were 350 people to feed. Jones got busy and, “We got everyone fed,” he remembers.
Pictures that bring back Cowboy memories and Carolina Panthers experiences cover the walls of Big Dave’s, where he’s now serving the barbecue in Clemson that Aikman and Smith loved and that he considers his specialty. You can’t miss him when you walk in the door. Only don’t expect a Cowboys cap. These days, he wears a Clemson Tigers hat.
1060 Tiger Blvd (Hwy 123)
Clemson, SC 29631
Phone: (864) 973-3899