Editor’s note: This story appeared in the March 30, 2017 print edition of the Haysville Sun-Times, a few days before Iron Wagon opened. To see stories like this sooner, subscribe for home delivery of the Sun-Times. Call 316-540-0500.
By Sam Jack
Jackie and Joe Fowler have decades of experience in the restaurant industry, and they have dreamed of starting their own place for nearly that long.
After analyzing the restaurant market in Haysville and south Wichita, Joe Fowler decided he could finally pull the trigger and create Iron Wagon Tex Mex BBQ.
When Joe Fowler spoke with the Sun-Times on Monday, Iron Wagon was nearly ready to serve up its first plates of barbecued meats, along with customers’ choice of Texas and Mexican-style fixings. He and Jackie were waiting only on a walk-in cooler that was due to be delivered to the restaurant, which is located at 236 Main Street in the former home of Taco J’s.
The pair expected to have the restaurant open Friday, March 31, barring any more delays, and Joe said he would confirm the restaurant’s opening on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/IronWagonTexMexBBQ.
Joe has experience with the world of competitive barbecue, hauling a smoker to competitions and bringing home trophies. He plans to continue that activity under the restaurant’s name, and also plans to create an “Iron Wagon” smoker that will be displayed out front.
“The more trophies we’ve got on the wall, the more confidence people have that they’re eating at the right place,” Joe said. “At the same time, I don’t want to take away from the restaurant. What we’re producing is not going to have the huge kick that the competition stuff has. It’s going to be something that everybody can eat.
“I try to layer flavors onto one another,” he continued. “That said, we do have a sauce called the ‘deadhead sauce,’ and if you order that, you’re asking for fire. If you can eat 10 tacos with it in 10 minutes, you’ll get a t-shirt that says, ‘I survived the deadhead.’”
Iron Wagon will open for dine-in and carry-out first, with drive-thru service to follow in a few weeks. Customers will order at the counter or call ahead, then seat themselves. Delivery service is also planned, for orders of $40 or more.
“Our goal is to have fast service on food that, traditionally, you’re going to sit down for an hour or hour and a half meal,” Joe said. “We’re still cooking from scratch, even though we’re moving the food out the window fast.”
The menu is divided into “Build Your Tex” and “Build Your Mex” categories, both based on a selection of barbecue meats: smoked brisket, smoked pulled pork, chipotle ground beef, and smoked hot link sausage. The meats can be served on a bun, with barbecue sauce and fixings, or as a taco or burrito, with Mexican salsas and fixings. Entrees run $6.50, $8.50 or $9.50, depending on size. Everything can be fully customized to suit diners’ preferences.
“Our burritos are going to be big,” Joe promised. “We start with a 14-inch tortilla, and if they end up weighing less than a pound, somebody made it wrong.”
Hours may change as the Fowlers gauge demand, but to start, Iron Wagon’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The business’s phone number is 316-200-2762.