Food, Culture & Community - Judge's BBQ


Judges BBQ sits just beyond the White River on West Michigan Street located in Haughville.  Behind the whole operation is Judge Smith, a man with a heart for great barbecue and also for the people in the community. As a man from the south, where Judge says barbecue is "a way of life," he strives for the quality and taste of his food to be second to none. After years of service in the military where he cooked barbecue for friends and worked on perfecting his barbecue sauce, Judge took his talents to the City Market in downtown Indianapolis with the desire to share his food with the public.

Following some time spent selling his barbecue in the City Market, the Westside Community Development Corporation approached Judge with a proposal to put a restaurant just outside the downtown area in Haughville. While the area did not seem like an ideal location to anyone for a prospective restaurant, Judge took a leap of faith and thought if he could make it and be successful then he might change people's opinions about the neighborhood and show the potential for opening a business in the area. Since opening the restaurant, Judge continues to notice how Haughville is just like anywhere else: there are good and bad things happening but this is no different than anywhere else. He believes Haughville unjustly receives a bad reputation from people who may have never even been to the area before.

To all of this Judge responds by simply "treating people right." In addition to serving generous portions at reasonable prices, Judge believes treating people kindly and with friendly service ties the restaurant going experience together. You can tell Judge Smith is sincere just by talking with him: his calm demeanor makes you feel that no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay. While he acknowledges that the business has had its ups and downs, one thing for is for sure: Judges BBQ has succeeded by serving some of the best barbecue in the city.

Beyond the four walls of the restaurant, Judges BBQ also caters food for events. This is something Judge says he would like to further expand as time goes on to share his passion for barbecue with more of the city. A Saturday Night Blues and Barbecue event is also an idea Judge wants to implement in order to further bring people into the community together to enjoy food and music during an evening out. After serving his country in the military, Judge now continues to serve the local community with great barbecue that has long been his passion.