D’Angelo Roach, the founder of Fat Boy Q, was tired of working steady jobs and wanted to make a living from his passion for cooking. “I was working my corporate job and unfulfilled,” Roach says. “I wanted to focus more on just the cooking.”
Five years ago, Roach had started D’Angelo’s Kitchen and Catering, making ribs and wings for friends and family on weekends. The time he spent making food reminded him of his favorite memories at family cookouts. “I remember them as the best times in my life,” Roach says. “The food was the best part!”
In January of 2020, Roach began working with his business partner, Marcus Williams, a business school graduate of Ohio State University, to make food their full time job. They set up calls every night at 8 p.m. and mapped out their business plan.
Before opening, Roach and Williams went on a trip down South to cities like Memphis, Saint Louis and Kansas City to taste the most authentic Southern barbecue and bring some of the flavors up to Ohio.
For a time, it seemed like the Fat Boy Q food truck might never become a reality. “COVID-19 hit and it seemed like the whole thing was going to implode,” Roach says. But the pandemic wasn’t all bad for the business. “It gave us more time to cross all of our T’s and dot all of our I’s.”
Expanding from D’Angelo’s Kitchen and Catering to the Fat Boy Q food truck took over a year, but finally, on April 20, 2021, the Fat Boy Q food truck was in business. On opening day in Ironton, the line went down the block on the corner of 5th and Vine. Since that date, Fat Boy Q has been seen at events in Huntington, West Virginia; Ashland, Kentucky; and numerous towns around Lawrence County.
Ironton football games are another opportunity for locals to taste some of Roach’s cooking. A native of Ironton, Roach wants to pay it forward for the next generation.
“I’m a fourth generation Irontonian,” Roach says. “I was born at [Lawrence County General Hospital], which is no longer here; there aren’t many people that are more Irontonian than me.”
While pulled pork is a favorite for Irontonians, Roach hopes he can expand their meat palate. “There’s a lot more out there than just pulled pork sandwiches,” Roach says. “People don’t know what brisket or rib tips are. Our goal is to introduce them to different cuts of meat.”
In addition to ribs, rib tips, wings, pulled pork and brisket, Fat Boy Q’s menu features their Signature Q nachos and Carolina Q bowl. The nachos include pulled pork, queso and cilantro lime slaw. The Carolina Q Bowl includes jalapeno cornbread with mac and cheese and pulled pork, drizzled with their Q sauce.
While Roach acknowledges that the first couple months for Fat Boy Q have been successful, it hasn’t always been easy for him and his staff.
“Smoking meat all night long, there’s been multiple times where I get two hours of sleep in a 40-hour period,” Roach says. “You don’t do those types of hours for something you don’t love.”
As for the future, Roach hopes to move into a building where buyers can pick up orders and dine inside. For now, he is driving the Fat Boy Q truck all over the region, serving up savory meats for his extended food family.