Taking the show on the road

Famous among friends and relatives, family serves up barbecue to Clark County

Charles and Goldie Bibens would cook at home for family and friends, who continually urged them to start their own restaurant. Eventually, they warmed up to the idea. About four years ago, Charles Bibens began selling his barbecue fare under the name Goldies Texas Style Barbecue on the weekends from a trailered kitchen. Goldie Bibens perfected the recipes and Charles Bibens and the couple’s son Aaron Bibens do the barbecuing and manage the business. Charles Bibens’ friend designed and built a large, portable barbecue pit. For a modest monthly rent, Goldies operates from the parking lot of a business near the corner of 117th Avenue and 65th Street.

Charles and Goldie Bibens are from Texas and Louisiana, respectively, so the menu is infused with Southern flavor. Charles Bibens said his wife is a “magician” in the kitchen. And being married since 1975, he has had his share of her cooking.

“When we first got married, I thought I would turn into a chicken,” said Bibens.

The couple moved to Oregon in 1979 and Clark County a year later.

Barbecue can be smelled in the air round the clock near Goldies. The meat is truly slow-cooked, said Bibens, sometimes for 12 to 18 hours.

Business didn’t start out booming for Goldies.

“When we first started, we played a lot of darts and cards,” said Bibens.

Bibens realized if he wanted a line as long as Taco Bell had in its drive-thru across the street, he would have to operate consistently throughout the week.

“People know they are there,” he said.

Bibens took the plunge, quit his job at Vancouver’s Prairie Electric, where he worked for 11 years, and opened up Goldies six days a week. His 401k helped fund the venture. Soon, business began to take off. The hundreds of pounds of beef, chicken, pork and sausage and gallons of potato salad and beans the business goes through each week is a testament to the success.

Goldies features chicken breasts and drummettes, beef brisket, pork spare ribs, pulled pork and hot and mild links, among other choices. Goldies also offers full service catering and delivery packages, which include a variety of homemade Cajun dishes. Less than 10 percent of the business is catering, said Bibens.

The luxury of a portable restaurant allows Goldies to attend area events and festivals, which increases its exposure in the community. But Bibens said time away from the permanent location means possible lost business.

Goldies does twice as much business in the summertime as it does the rest of the year, said Bibens, when it offers outside dining at picnic tables. Bibens is considering offering delivery service for individual orders.

Bibens said the ultimate goal is to have a sit-down restaurant, but he has considered having a centrally-located kitchen that provides food to several portable locations throughout the area.

Goldies Texas Style Barbecue
11800 N.E. 65th St. in Vancouver
Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday,
1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays

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