Gates Bar-B-Q

Gates Bar-B-Q Watercolor Doodlewash

Today we’re heading over to a Kansas City tradition called Gates Bar-B-Q with this doodlewash of the classic “Beef On Bun.” I realized I never attempted to sketch food before so I figured I would give it a shot. Also, because I was really craving this barbecue sauce as it’s one of my favorites.

Kansas City is known for barbecue and as a child we always went to Bryant’s (sketched here), but as an adult I prefer Gates. Actually, I rarely ever go because as you can see it’s not the healthiest lunch option, and Philippe typically forbids it, but it’s extremely delicious!

Gates opened its doors in 1946 and much of their success came from their excellent sauce. As the demand for the sauce grew and grew, they couldn’t keep up with it so they switched to automated production. When I was a kid in the mid 70’s, it became available for the first time in local grocery stores.

Today, it’s a tourist destination, and the second you walk in you’re met with a nearly shouted “Hi, may I help you!!?” In text, this sounds sweet, but in reality it’s often terrifying and sounds more like it means, “You best know what the hell you want right now!” So, I’ve quickly learned to just shout back, “one beef on bun with fries!” and have been too scared to ever try anything else.

When I was growing up, my dad’s best friend was Ananais, and he lived closer to Bryant’s so that’s why we always ended up there. We all preferred Gate’s sauce, but the meat was better at Bryant’s and it was the closer joint to grab a quick bite. I would always introduce him as my Uncle Ananais, which would elicit several strange looks from friends since he was African American and I was well… just really super White.

But he was the best uncle a kid could have, because any time I wanted a little extra cash, I would wait until he came over and ask my dad in front of him. My dad would always say no, and then Ananais would start in with, “Johnny, now why you gotta tell the boy no” and the wallet would come right out! He was a magician that man, and I loved him.

My dad’s other friend was of a similar complexion and the three of them would often go fishing together. Not sure they ever worried or thought about political correctness back then. That was something everyone started worrying about much later. They were just really good friends. Friends, who instead, referred to themselves as the Oreo Fishing Company.

Sadly, nobody from the Oreo Fishing Company is still alive today, but I often think of them. Especially when I’m having a bite of the favored barbecue sauce. I like to imagine they’re still out there somewhere, fishing poles in hand, and my uncle from another brother is still being politically incorrect and always telling my dad what to do. Life is suddenly simple like it was back then, with the best sauce in town, friends you can count on, and your one beef on bun.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. thepaperbaker 7 years ago

    Fabulous doodlewash & even more fabulous story 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! For some reasons these early comments when to my Spam folder, so I’m late in replying! (I’ve now de-spammed you… when just sounds weird… okay… moving on). So happy you like both the story and doodlewash!

  2. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    I looooove that story about your dad and his friends and I’m so sorry that none of them are alive to re-live some old fun memories with you. And darn, it! You have made me hungry for BBQ! We’re not allowed to have it often either (geez, hubby and Philippe are a pair, aren’t they? Always trying to make us eat more healthfully). 😉

    • Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

      That was supposed to be a compliment about your doodlwash…but I got carried away with being indignant about being forced to eat better. LOL!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Teresa! Glad you liked the story! 😊❤️😃 And yes!! They’re the same!! But we’re only being denied these pleasures to be served even MORE pleasurable food, so it’s okay I guess. Lol

      • Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

        I suppose…LOL! I do appreciate his not letting me donuts and fried chicken every day so I’ll live longer. 😉

  3. Damita M-S 7 years ago

    I love that your dad had great friends and I love your doodle wash. If you ever come to Austin, Texas I love Elgin Barbeque and I have heard Franklins is good. You will have to get in line by 9am for Franklins.

    Anyway I enjoyed your story!!

  4. Sand Salt Moon 7 years ago

    Not Grumpy Old Men. And I love the pickles.

  5. Kari 7 years ago

    I spent most of my life in Texas so I love Texas BBQ which is very different than KC BBQ. But I love food so I say both are good. Love your doodlewash. Food is one of my favorite to draw!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 😃❤️ this was my first time trying to draw food, but it was pretty fun actually! I’ll have to try it again!

  6. kungfunaomi 7 years ago

    Charlie, I’m sick and your post brightened me up, thank you. 🙂

  7. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Looks delish Charlie! I’d like to try sketching food sometime but usually I’m too hungry to wait. Enjoyed your story too – you were a clever kid to know how to ask for cash at the right time. LOL! 😊

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Jill! Yeah…I’ve never tried sketching food, but it’s super fun. You just have to be fast about it. There are more important things to do…like eat it!! 😊

  8. In Art Therapy 7 years ago

    Your sketch looks great and I really enjoyed your story!

  9. Sabiscuit 7 years ago

    You’ve just reminded me I need to get something to eat. It’s a lovely watercolor and that bacon looks very fresh. x

  10. kirkistan 7 years ago

    Great story and super-tasty sketch.

  11. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    That is a great sketch, I like the gloss you gave the sauce on your beef on bun…and such tidy fries. ;D Your story was beautiful, not only do you get to eat something you enjoy, but it wraps you in such sweet memories. Lovely.

    • Author

      Thanks friend! I do love this food for all those reasons, but my diet doesn’t allow it very often. (I guess I should say my dietician …Philippe! Lol😊😊)

  12. waynejacques 7 years ago

    Great Doodlewash and I love the wonderful memory.

  13. Rebecca 7 years ago

    I REALLY love this picture – must have taken some restraint to draw, then eat! Great result – the top of the burger bun and the luscious-looking meat are my favourite areas of all! 🙂

    • Author

      Awww thanks Rebecca!! ❤️😃 Yeah…this is exactly why I waited to sketch food until my sketching speed got much faster! Lol

  14. rebecca 7 years ago

    nice pickles….they really pop out, btw, can I ask what sketchbook you are using, it is really bright white and the watercolor looks fantastic!

    • Author

      Hehe…love being told “nice pickles” hehe…it sounds funny, and they were kind of tough to figure out how to render! And I’m using a tiny 3.5×5 Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album. (The regular Moleskines don’t work as well)

      • rebecca 7 years ago

        Ok good to know about the sketchbook…it reminded me of my pentalic one I just finished up and miss already!!

        • Author

          I’m getting close to end of this one!! Funny how we bond with these sketchbooks and miss them when they’re full! 😊

  15. Charlie, I’m not sure which I love better: the painting or the story. You are really terrific! You should write and illustrate something.

    • Author

      Awww thanks Laura! ❤️😃 I kind of feel like this blog has become an illustrated journal of sorts for me. I’ve never drawn OR written this often before! Hehe

      • I’m really glad you’re doing both. We were made to explore our gifts and talents!

        • Author

          The story came to mind first and actually inspired the food choice on this one, and then the doodlewash. So it’s been a fun journey!! 😊😃

  16. Jacob 7 years ago

    It’s making me crazy hungry, so good enough to eat, methinks! Delicious painting and such a touching story to go with it. It’s nice to go back to places that echo of a simpler time.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Jacob!! ❤️😃Inducing hunger means I made it work! Success!! I really had no idea how to draw food I just wanted to tell that story. 😊

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        Well, I think you succeeded on every account!

  17. Jodi 7 years ago

    Such a great painting and even lovelier story. Big smiles. 😄

  18. amaryllislog 7 years ago

    You reminded me how much I love food paintings and thought I would paint this morning’s breakfast but no, I was too hungery! Love the memories of the past, thank you for sharing.

  19. Snehal Kank 7 years ago

    That’s nice you started with food painting! Looking yummy! 😀

  20. Rachel Murphree 7 years ago

    Really nice post and story! how could you wait to sketch that delicious looking bbq sandwich?? that’s my huge problem with sketching food…

    • Author

      Hehe…I didn’t attempt food until I learned I could make a 2-5 minute sketch! Lol I’d never be able to wait any longer than that! 😊

  21. Margaret Hunt 7 years ago

    Great story and sketch. I need some good bbq now!!

    • Author

      Thanks Maggie!! 😃Yeah…get some! It’s delicious!!

      • Margaret Hunt 7 years ago

        It is. We are heading over to the grandpa bbq location today but don’t know if we will have time. 😢batesburg leesville near Columbia SC. Sis has a meeting.

  22. ann christina 7 years ago

    This looks wonderful and delicious!!! If I wasn´t a vegetarian… 😉

    • Author

      Lol…honestly…we practically are. We only eat meat about 3 times a month. 😉 And this type of fare is dicey to see how my body will react after. 😳But I very occasionally risk it! It IS delicious!!

  23. You did a great job on this doodlewash! Those pickles are making me hungry!!

  24. […] of these dishes of Americana. But to me, it just transports me back to a childhood with amazing Kansas City barbecue and thick-cut french fries.  And though I’ve developed a more sophisticated menu as an adult, I’m not a food snob […]

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