Our story as told by Hopewell News
When Jason Pough came to Richmond as a Virginia Union University grad student, he noticed something odd about the barbecue restaurants he had seen in the area. He couldn’t see smoke pouring out of any of the buildings.
“Where I’m from, you will never see a place that is selling barbecue and you don’t see smoke,” Pough said.
Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla., Pough decided to bring his own southern version of barbecue to the Tri-City area in the form of the recently opened Le’Pough’s Bar-B-Que restaurant at 16801 Jefferson Davis Highway in south Chesterfield.
Sitting just off the road in the divide between Chesterfield and Colonial Heights, smoke can now be seen wafting from the roof of the establishment.
“Everybody in this neighborhood can smell barbecue when they wake up in the morning,” Pough said.
Le’Pough’s was first established in 2011 when Pough experimented with barbecue styles in an apartment with his brother, and then sold it through a cheap mobile outlet on both the VUU and VCU campuses as a source of additional income while pursuing a second master’s degree.
Le’Pough’s then began operating out of a food truck on Fort Lee for the next three years, and Pough felt that setting up a permanent fixture in a building was a better way to continue to expand and offer his barbecue menu to a larger community.
In addition to the new restaurant, the food truck will still sit by the U.S. Post Office on the Fort Lee military base.
Complemented by the choice of a mild or spicy mustard-based barbecue sauce, Pough utilizes his grandmother-inspired cooking style of slow grilling meat with both direct heat and direct fire from hickory and oak wood to add extra flavor.
Standing behind the long bar-top counter which stretches through his restaurant that has now been open for about four weeks, Pough exudes an animated and jovial personality when customers walk in, offering them food samples and instantly engaging them in conversation.
As one customer prepared to bite into a thick pork rib, Pough brandished a wide smile and said the sauce “will make you feel 15 years younger.”
Whether or not the sauce extended the customer’s life is another matter to be determined through further research, but the customer was at least persuaded to purchase a full rack of ribs after sampling it.
Another man came in the building, a retired Army veteran who had previously eaten Pough’s barbecue at Fort Lee, who drove out of his way to return for the product, hungry for the “tangier” flavor than other barbecue places in the area.
Stressing the importance of persistence along with consistency in his product, Pough said “you’ve got to have a no quit spirit,” and he assured that along with his goals for expansion stick a need for his product’s flavor to stay the same.
Pough lives in Chesterfield with his two sons, who also help out when they can with the barbecue business, and he said he never would have moved anywhere without them.
With a menu offering a variety of saucy meats including ribs, pork, chicken, beef brisket and Italian sausage, customers have the option of grabbing an individual meal such as the popular Kuwait barbecue “sammich” or getting whole chickens or whole racks of ribs to take home.
Sides include crispy macaroni and cheese, baked beans, french fries, cole slaw and potato salad.
In addition to a long bar-top counter, the restaurant offers plenty of table seating area, with beer and wine on the way once his liquor license is approved in 60-90 days.
Pough said the restaurant’s name is a product of the fact that he would be teased as a kid, getting called Pepe Le Pew because his last name is pronounced the same way as the famous cartoon character.
“I decided to make it work for me,” Pough chuckled before heading over to greet the next customer.