Barbecues and Bibles are on the menu at Baker’s Ribs in Weatherford.
Co-owners Brian and DeeAnna Krier’s restaurant on South Main Street distributes free Bibles and offers a prayer request box in an effort to share their Christian faith with their patrons.
“We are just an extension of the church,” says Brian Krier. “We see ourselves as a ministry.
Brian Krier is the nephew of Baker’s Ribs founder Joe Duncan and he worked at his uncle’s restaurant, then called Smokes BBQ, in Lake Worth as a teenager. Since Duncan opened the first Baker’s Ribs in 1988, the restaurant has expanded to Dallas-Fort Worth. In 2000, the Kriers opened their restaurant in Weatherford. In 2008, they were on the verge of bankruptcy due to the recession.
Throughout their struggles, the Krier continued to tithe their church. They believe the focus on faith paid off when they ran out of $ 250,000 in debt and family members helped them pay it off.
“Being a restorer teaches commitment, which can also apply to one’s relationship with God, as it is important to remain faithful during times of struggle,” says DeeAnna Krier.
After the Kriers became more financially stable, Brian Krier says he had a dream from God of being a “fisher of men” and of using his restaurant to spread the word of God. The Kriers bought and placed free Bibles in the restaurant’s foyer and have kept them there since 2008.
“Every time I walk into Baker’s Ribs and see these Bibles, I know this is a place that cares and makes a difference in our community,” said Debra Camp, Senior Pastor of River of Faith Worship. Center and long-time customer of Baker’s Ribs.
The Kriers realize that it is rare to introduce their religion into their business. But, DeeAnna Krier says Baker’s Ribs can serve as an unconventional church.
Employee Todd Burton says Baker’s Ribs is respectful of other spiritual beliefs. When Muslim customers enter, they use a separate knife and cutting board so that their food does not touch the pork. The owners say they have employees who are atheistic or belonging to other faiths.
“[All our employees] are treated the same because Jesus would treat everyone the same, ”says DeeAnna Krier. “He doesn’t judge and we don’t judge.
But Brian Krier says he’s fueled by those who support their choice to bring Christianity to their restaurant.
“I feel full of joy every time we receive positive feedback,” says Brian Krier. “It warms my heart.”
A place of prayer
In the past, a woman has donated a set of Bibles that she says have helped the restaurant’s “donation circle”. Christian music fills the room, and local prayer groups use Baker’s Ribs in Weatherford as a meeting place.
The Kriers once received a testimony where a client was led to pick up a Bible even though she did not need it. Later, at a gas station, the customer gave the Baker’s Ribs Bible to a woman who was crying because her house had burned down, and inside were all of her personal belongings, including her Bible.
Food and faith have long had a strong correlation in Christianity, dating back to the symbol of communion and the history of the Last Supper. The Krier encourage their customers and employees to treat their bodies like a temple.
Burton, who has worked at Baker’s Ribs for 3 years, says he “can’t wait to cook for Jesus.”
“When I eat, I invite the Lord to come in and I ask the Lord to bless our food,” he said.
People tend to notice how much Burton smiles and seems to enjoy his job.
Burton says DeeAnna Krier is a “spiritual cheerleader” and often prays with clients. The Kriers wanted the restaurant to be a safe spiritual space.
“We don’t want to force [Bibles] to [customers]Brian Krier said. “If they want him, he’s here.”
Find faith in food
DeeAnna Krier says Baker’s Ribs “became a church” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“During COVID-19, our staff needed each other more than ever,” she says. “We had to hold on to each other and to God. So we prayed together and became a church to one another.
The company has also started donating food to Meals on Wheels every Wednesday during the pandemic. In November, they organized a fundraiser for the Children’s Advocacy Center. And during this event, the couple contracted COVID-19. DeeAnna Krier says she first wondered why this was happening to them, but said she believed it was part of God’s purpose. They used their time in quarantine to worship more.
“Their love for the community and for Christ makes them stand out,” says Camp. “You are not just another person coming for a meal. You walk in and you feel loved and their warmth.
Baker’s Ribs is located at 1921 S Main St., Weatherford.