Brent Swadley came to Oklahoma to become a youth minister. Instead, thanks to some detours along the way, he established Swadley’s World Famous Bar-B-Q in 1998. And while the focus may be slightly different, Swadley said his restaurants are still part of a higher calling.
“Swadley’s is a Christian-based company, and we wear that on our sleeves,” he says. “We’re a ministry first, and we want to serve our employees and their families so that they can put God first, their families second and work third. We have one of the lowest employee-turnover rates in Oklahoma City, and I think their happiness is reflected in the quality of our food and the way we take care of our customers.”
That food is what has made Swadley’s Bar-B-Q famous. Swadley said the difference is the restaurant’s slow-cooked meats and a commitment to making everything else from scratch, every day.
“We time our ribs and brisket to be served fresh from the smoker, so that they’re tender, juicy and flavorful,” he says. “Our menu also features sausage, burgers, chicken, chicken fried steak, catfish, a salad bar and 13 different sides. And it’s all made fresh, every day.”
Swadley’s Bar-B-Q is still growing – the company now has six locations in the 405, and recently teamed up with the State Tourism and Recreation Department to open Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchens, providing extra deliciousness to some of Oklahoma’s most beautiful locations near Beaver’s Bend, Robbers Cave, Sequoyah, Lake Murray and Roman Nose.
Despite that success, Swadley said he’s more interested in contributing to the lives of his employees, his customers and the communities they serve.
“I’m grateful that we can be a positive part of our customers’ and our employees’ lives,” he says. “Our food is what brings people in, but I’m also proud that our restaurants serve as a place for faith and family to come together.”