Meet Erasto “Red” Jackson, owner of Lil Red Takeout & Catering in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. Red opened Lil Red Takeout & Catering in 2016 and his restaurant quickly became a neighborhood staple for ribs, jerk chicken, rib tips, and so much more. He is passionate about food, and even more passionate about barbecue. With laid back music and delicious smells, Red wants his restaurant to be reminiscent of old speakeasies.
Pro-tip: Make sure to try Red’s mac and cheese — it pairs well with everything.
Get to know more about Red and Lil Red Takeout & Catering in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business? I am pretty open about everything so I’m pretty sure there’s very little there’s people that they don’t know about me . . . We’re in the process of getting a food truck started. The menu on the food truck is going to be something completely different than what’s in the restaurant so we’re excited about bringing the new product and the new items to our customers. Just look for it when we announce it.
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried? The craziest thing I did was to start a restaurant. It’s one of the hardest industries out there to succeed in. That’s the craziest thing I did and for it to be where it is today: my crazy worked. Just stepping out of your comfort zone. Being your own boss. Not working a nine to five like everybody else. That, to most people, that’s crazy. But when it’s your vision and your dream, you don’t see it as crazy, you just see it as an opportunity.
Why is it important that people support small businesses like yours? Personally, I’m trying to take care of my family. I opened the business because I enjoy feeding people. I want people to come in, enjoy the food, and have a great experience and all that. But I also need to earn a living. I want to take care of my wife. I want to take care of my family. It’s kind of hard to do in Seattle with COVID being what it has been. And then the taxes that Seattle charges small businesses to do business. So, it’s difficult, it really is. I do this for the love, but I’m like anybody else that has a job: I want to earn a living and take care of my family. Most small businesses — if you ask any owner — they open the small business because it’s their passion, it’s their love, but they also want to take care of their families and live.