NORTHWEST DISTRICT -- When Damian Shapiro gets a yen for good
barbecue, he heads to Acme Autoworks at 738 N. Victory Blvd..
No, it's not a trendy new theme restaurant. It's an honest to goodness
auto repair shop.
Lucky for Shapiro, Acme shop owner Bob Krauss, who once owned 10
Vincenzos pizza parlors in the San Fernando Valley and Newhall, just
can't seem to get cooking out of his system. So, once a week at the shop,
he treats his family and employees to what Shapiro swears is the best
barbecue west of Kansas City.
Shapiro, 28, a film editor who works in the Valley, stumbled onto the
barbecue when he brought his car in for service.
Smelling something deliciously like barbecue, Shapiro says his first
thought was, "Is this some kind of equipment I don't know about?"
Nosing around outside, he found Krauss preparing the midday meal.
"I kind of forced my way into the party," says Shapiro between bites
of succulent tri-tip beef. "I've been showing up for two months. Every
time he makes barbecue, I'm here."
Ask Krauss the secret to his lip-smacking good barbecue and he says,
"You gotta cook with wood or charcoal, and you gotta cook it long."
Barbecuing is for a patient person, he says. "Take a tough piece of meat,
and make it tender -- that's the challenge."
To enhance the flavorful meats, Krauss has created Acme barbecue
"It's the only sauce you'll ever need," he says. "You can use it on
everything but ice cream. You can even use it in Bloody Marys."
Side dishes accompanying Krauss' barbecue are homemade coleslaw and
Grandma Penny's cold baked beans flavored with sausage, both made by his
wife, Pamela Taylor.
"I'm Grandma Penny," proclaims Taylor, a stately blond. She says she
was tagged with this moniker when one of her granddaughters couldn't
quite manage "Grammy Pammy."
"I was Vincenzo," says Krauss. "Now, I'm Smokin' Kansas City Jack."
He's not kidding around, either. Krauss has plans to open his Smokin'
Kansas City Jack Restaurant at the Acme shop site, and offer takeout
service. "And if it doesn't go, we'll eat it."