The Staples Motley Area Chamber of Commerce honored Derek and Kim Johnson (front, center left) at a ribbon cutting at Ted & Gen’s Bar-B-Q during the chamber’’s annual dinner held at the restaurant Jan. 19. They purchased the business from Don and Cheri Ludovissie (front, third from right). The chamber director Barb Cline, front, center right, helped Kim Johnson with the scissors. Chamber board members in the photo are, front, from left, Chuck Mayer, the Johnsons, Cline, the Ludovissies, Melissa Radermacher

New owners learning traditions at Ted & Gen’s Bar-B-Q, Aldrich

Derek and Kim Johnson completely changed their lives when they recently purchased Ted and Gen’s Bar-B-Q in Aldrich. Since taking over in January, they’re enjoying the excitement of the restaurant business.

“I always wanted to own my own business,” Derek said, “but if you had said that business was going to be a restaurant, I would’ve said you’re crazy.”

Still, the idea started to grow on him after his father talked to owner Don Ludovissie at the restaurant and found out that they were looking to sell.

Derek and Kim started slowly, working since July to learn the business, and purchased it in January.

They said they’re still learning every day but have had a lot of help from Don Ludovissie. “Ted’s means a lot to him, it’s his family’s business,” said Derek.

One thing they’ve learned is that customers like the traditions at Ted & Gen’s. They’re keeping the name and the same cooks and waitstaff. “We’ll make some small changes to become more efficient,” said Kim, “The staff sure notices the changes.”

But customers should have the same experience. They told one long-time customer about their plan to keep things the same, but that customer caught on as soon as they took the spoons out of the pre-wrapped silverware package. “I thought you said you weren’t going to change,” the customer said to them while holding up her knife and fork, as they all had a laugh about it.

A couple of outdoor changes will be a new lighted handicapped entrance and lighting on the building.

The couple, originally from Browerville, were living in Sauk Centre, where they recently moved from. They’re bringing a long a few new customers in their friends and neighbors. Some of them hadn’t heard of Ted & Gen’s, but others were regulars.

They’re also learning the catering side of the business. Kim found the trick to catering is getting everything ready at the right time and keeping it hot until it’s time to serve. “You work on it, then when the time comes it’s go, go, go,” she said. “It looks like chaos but it is organized.”

For catering and other big events, they rely on the experience of the staff. “The people here are amazing,” said Derek.

Since starting their adventure, they haven’t had a lot of free time to reflect on it. One day they took a trip to Brainerd to purchase some equipment and stopped at a restaurant there. “We started getting ideas of what we can do with our restaurant, we have fun, there’s a lot of exciting ideas,” said Derek.

They’re ready for busy weekends but are still trying to figure out what other days might be busy. Derek said the weather probably has lot to do with it, people want to go out and eat after being stuck inside during a cold spell.

Derek, a licensed plumber, has also worked at buying and selling homes along with rental homes. Kim worked in the medical field. 

“We never thought we ‘d be here, it’s a change,” said Kim. “But it’s rewarding to do something for yourself, and figure things out.”

“It’s longer hours but easier to wake up for work,” she said.


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