Conway Black Restaurant Week: Wade’s BBQ

Like father, like son: Glen Winston has a passion for feeding people

“My passion is cooking and feeding people. And I love to feed people good food.”

Glen Winston, owner of Wade's BBQ in Conway, Arkansas

Glen Winston has been giving the gift of food for 15 years – from feeding more than 270 people at the three-day Winston family reunion to providing food to parishioners at the Conway church where he serves as pastor. He is also part of a food ministry team that has traveled to the Republic of Kenya in eastern Africa since 2004. 

“My passion is cooking and feeding people. And I love to feed people good food.” 

He gets it from his father, Wade. Every time Wade would cook for others, he took Glen with him. 

“My father was a man of many talents. He even had a homemade sauce and shared the recipe with anyone who wanted it. He had a reputation in Conway and the surrounding area for cooking barbecue. A lot of people would come and buy our food, even when he’d be cooking it for our family! He just recooked more for us.” 

In addition to “raising him on barbecue,” Glen said his father and his mother, Charlotte, instilled in him and his siblings to “do for other people.” 

“They would feed anybody who would come to the house. They loved to cook.” 

Glen followed in his parents’ footsteps, providing free meals to countless individuals. After returning from his most recent trip to Kenya in 2019, Glen said God told him it was time to start his business. Wade’s BBQ opened on July 4, 2020. He named it after his father because he didn’t want him to be forgotten. Wade died when Glen was 13.

“I want people to know what he did and what he gave to people.”

Glen also wanted to incorporate his mother’s name into the business, which is why you’ll see ChaCha Fries on the menu. 

“That’s a nickname. We’d call her ChaCha. She was a wonderful woman and mother.” 

When asked what menu item Glen would recommend to a new customer, he said it’s like having children; he can’t pick a favorite.

“I put so much love into everything! I do all the cooking, and my wife, Eva, makes desserts – pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and banana pudding. But if you ask me what I like, it would be between the fish and the brisket. But my biggest seller is the pulled pork sandwich.” 

Although Wade’s BBQ has been open less than a year, Glen and Eva have spent years researching best practices and perfecting their craft. They have traveled from state to state, tasting food at different barbecue restaurants to explore what they liked best. Glen has also spent time learning the meat and even learning the wood he uses to cook it, which his nephew chops for him. 

Just like his father, Glen is also a man of many talents. A member of the Toad Suck Car Club, he builds antique cars and has owned an auto body shop. This skill came in handy when outfitting his food truck. 

“I built my truck and my barbecue grills. I also created the design that’s wrapped on the truck.” 

Although his food truck is up and running, Glen is still working behind the scenes and has big plans for Wade’s BBQ. He wants to open a restaurant in Conway with additional locations in Little Rock, Dallas, Atlanta, and Kansas City. He has been collecting antiques to decorate the restaurant and has already begun building the custom benches for the dining room. 

“We have the background, and we have the capability of going bigger. This is just the start. We’re getting prepared for growth.

“I’m building a brand and a legacy.” 

Glen has advice for anyone looking to follow their passion. 

“Expand your borders. Dream big. Don’t go out there with small dreams; go out there with big dreams, and leave a footprint for your children and their children.” 

Just like Wade did.

Glen Winston, owner of Wade's BBQ in Conway, Arkansas

The Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau is celebrating the inaugural Conway Black Restaurant Week during the last week of Black History Month. From February 21-27, 2021, the Conway CVB will bring attention to Conway’s Black-owned restaurants and introduce you to some of the people behind them.

Conway Black Restaurant Week
The owner of Wade's BBQ.

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