Soon-to-be Dover restaurant on Mission to smoke up barbecue

Mission BBQ, a franchise based in Maryland, is set to open a restaurant in Dover on Aug. 29 on U.S. 13. The patriotic-themed eatery has a tradition where everyone stands up at noon to sing the national anthem. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Mission BBQ, a franchise based in Maryland, is set to open a restaurant in Dover on Aug. 29 on U.S. 13. The patriotic-themed eatery has a tradition where everyone stands up at noon to sing the national anthem. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — One might think that Mission BBQ’s specialty would be popcorn instead of barbecue with the way its new restaurants have been popping up lately all along the East Coast.

It appears as if Dover will be the perfect new home to the patriotic-themed Mission BBQ franchise when it opens its doors on Monday, Aug. 29.

The grand opening will feature a live rendition of the national anthem at noon followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The restaurant’s doors will open immediately afterward.

The opening of Dover’s restaurant will mark the 35th Mission BBQ location and the 10th state it will serve — and first location in Delaware. It is looking to hire anywhere from 50 to 60 employees. The franchise hopes to open 40 restaurants by the end of the year.

Dover’s Mission BBQ will be located just a couple of miles north of the Dover Air Force Base at 365 N. DuPont Highway (U.S. 13) and is certainly eager to cater to its new neighbors with the jumbo cargo planes, the city’s first responders and community, in general.

“Mission BBQ is very excited to be coming to Dover,” said Linda Dotterer, brand ambassador for the Maryland-based restaurant chain. “It’s a great community. The Air Force Base is there and NASCAR races come into the city a couple of times a year along with everything else that’s happening.

“We’re ready to bring our barbecue to Dover for everybody to enjoy.”

Don’t be surprised to see tributes to Dover’s military heritage lining the new Mission BBQ’s walls, as well as tributes to first responders such as the police department and volunteer firefighters, among others.

There is one Mission BBQ tradition that takes place every day the restaurant is open. At noon, members of the restaurant’s staff stop serving and taking orders and everybody stands up and sings the national anthem together.

“We stop everything at noon, no matter what we’re doing,” Ms. Dotterer said. “We just like to get out there and support our American heroes and thank them for all that they do in the name of public service. It’s very humbling and we just like to say ‘Thank you’ to them.”

Mission BBQ backs up its talk with actions as it will host charity nights throughout the week leading up to the Aug. 29 grand opening, with all proceeds going to organizations supported by the local police and fire departments in the Dover community, as well as the USO.

It’s fitting for a company that first opened its doors on Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Founders Bill Kraus and Steve Newton have a tremendous love of their country and said there is no food more American than barbecue.

Menu highlights include Texas-inspired brisket, North Carolina-style pulled pork, chicken, turkey and smoked salmon. The smoked meats can be covered in sauces ranging from: Memphis Belle, Smoky Mountain, Texas Twang, KC Classic, Alabama White, Bay-B-Que, Tupelo Honey Heat, Carolina Vinegar, Georgia Mustard and Craftsman Special.

“We have smokers in all of our restaurants,” said Ms. Dotterer. “All of our meats smoke all day, every day. We have no freezers and no microwaves. Everything is homemade and handcrafted.

“We smoke our different meats anywhere from 14 to 16 hours with White Oak.”

Even though the Dover restaurant isn’t up and running just yet, it has already been making its presence known by delivering lunch to the Dover Police Department and providing snacks at the Abilene Trophy presentation at Dover Air Force Base.

“We’ve had a really great reception already from the community,” Ms. Dotterer said. “The community of Dover has been very welcoming and we can’t wait to open our doors.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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