By Molly Reitter
Randy Rodecki rocks.
Not only does he own, manage and cook at Carolina Ribs on the Run, he also caters to many rock stars when they play gigs in Charlotte. In fact, his engagement photo features rocker Brett Michaels mugging it up in the background as he kisses his newly minted fiancée.
But the real reason Rodecki rocks is his ribs.
Rodecki was born in New Jersey and moved to south Florida at the age of 15. He worked his way up in the restaurant business starting with McDonalds and moving on to other restaurants.
Then at 19, he moved to Vermont and attended the New England Culinary Institute. By 21 he had worked his way up to executive chef at a five-star restaurant which was eventually sold. He then began working at the Ale House back in Florida.
Turns out that this was the favorite restaurant of the boy band *NSYNC. Rodecki parlayed this information into a catering job with the band.
“I traveled up to Raleigh from Jupiter, Fla., and told the backstage bouncer I was there to deliver food to the band,” Rodecki said.
The band had no idea he was coming up and the backstage manager would not let him through.
“So I told him to just tell Joey (Fatone) and Justin (Timberlake) that I was there from the Ale House.”
Two minutes later, Rodecki was in the door and the boys in the band were chowing down on his food. From the point, the band hired him to bring food to various locations.
“I would go on the bus for a week or two at a time,” Rodecki said. “But mostly I would just drive to the venue and deliver the Ale House food.”
As he got to know the manager of the band, he attained more catering jobs to musical groups. He cooked for New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, Brett Michaels and Poison.
It was Brett Michaels who inspired his restaurant.
“He took one bite of my ribs and told me to open a rib place,” said Rodecki.
Soon after Carolina Ribs on the Run was in place and Rodecki brings Michaels ribs every time he performs locally.
Carolina Ribs on the Run is small. Rodecki recently moved the order counter back to give the restaurant more seating.
The vibe is that of a small town barber shop. The zingers go back and forth between Rodecki and the customers.
But everyone raves about the ribs. Steve Krantz of Mooresville eats here at least once a week.
“I cook a lot, but I can’t make ribs like this,” said Krantz. “He cuts the fat off the back so they fall off the bone. Plus there are, like, 20 different flavors to chose from.”
Rich Bowes of Mooresville chimes in.
“My wife only likes boneless meats, so she usually won’t eat ribs,” Bowes said. “But these are so tender, they just fall off the bone. So she’ll eat ribs here.”
Rodecki is not one to rest of his ribs. He is constantly tweaking the rub and the sauces.
The hottest sauce he makes is called Judgment Day, but he is working on one with the hottest pepper in the world, the Bhut Jolokia or the Ghost Pepper.
“It is gonna be hot,” Rodecki said, laughing. “I’m going to call it Monkey Butt.”
Customers love the variations of homemade sauces offered at the restaurant.
Rodecki calls Carolina Ribs on the Run the little restaurant that could.
“We’ve had so much construction on the main road that really could have hurt us,” he said. “But we are still here.”
He shakes his head and smiles and heads back to the kitchen to cook up some more ribs. Ribs is why Rodecki’s restaurant remains. The rocking ribs.