When Greg Murphy’s father started his barbecue business in 1968, he told his son “It’s better to work for yourself, because you’re getting paid for what you do.”
Years ago, Murph, as he’s called, had a 1965 Apache tent trailer up for sale. Somebody stole the canvas around its shell and left him perplexed.
He came up an idea to convert it into a mobile barbecue pit, then landed a contract with King County ballparks for their food concessions, and got busy cooking –– following in his father’s footsteps.
Since then, he said his Murph’s BBQ and Catering business has become a staple at the Puyallup Fair and at other venues throughout Western Washington, including Bumbershoot, Pridefest, Taste of Tacoma, and most recently at Key Peninsula’s Volunteer Park.
Murphy expanded into Pierce County when the Seattle Super Sonics basketball team played in Tacoma during a remodel at the Key Arena.
He has owned a restaurant and a bar and grill, but says he doesn’t want all the responsibilities of being open seven days a week.
Murphy loves sports, especially track and field; and has followed the Olympics since 1984. He attended the games in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Greece, Italy, Beijing and Vancouver, British Columbia. Murph’s BBQ sponsors qualifying Olympic athletes and he has tickets for the 2014 games in Russia.
“I’m a pinhead,” he said. “I make my money on barbecue and spend it on the Olympics.”
He has transformed the Volunteer Park concession stand into a football tailgate party with Seahawks memorabilia lining the walls.
“During (Seahawks) away games, we go outside, play football, get dirty, then come inside to watch the game and eat.”
Murphy is a season-ticket holder for the Seattle team and attends home games. During the baseball season, he said he will be changing the concession décor.
He moved to the Key Peninsula a year ago. He wanted something different and wanted to build on his name brand recognition; but found the Key Peninsula to be different than anyplace he’s ever lived or done business.
“It’s hard to market myself out here because I’m a special events and catering guy.”
His menu includes the usual barbecue fare: turkey, chicken, ribs, pulled pork/chicken/beef sandwiches, sausages, hamburgers and hot dogs with side dishes.
He’s joined the Key Peninsula Business Association and works with other businesses to meet their catering needs.
In 2011, Murphy lent his expertise to the Key Fest fair and served as a working volunteer with a stand for roasted corn and pulled pork sandwiches.
During January, he plans to begin marketing “theme” parties, from the “usual to the unusual.” He said that he can feed between 20 and 1,000 people. “I’ve got wheels. I will come to you,” he said, smiling.
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