For over 20 years, Okie Dokies Smokehouse founder Steve Dunning has been involved in the business of barbeque. Beginning in 1996, he broke into the business by managing a local family owned BBQ restaurant. A couple years later, under the guidance of that same restaurant owner, he began serving bbq out of his own food truck, “The Red Wagon.” After years of building a roadside reputation for consistently moist, tender and always delicious bbq, the business outgrew the food truck and Okie Dokies Smokehouse opened their doors in 2007. Since then, Okie Dokies has had an incredible team of employees to help develop, shape and build the restaurant into what it is today. Okie Dokies has become known for serving up the finest, award-winning barbecue, using house-made dry rubs with their own unique smoking process that captures the best of the meat’s natural flavors. Not only has Okie Dokies grown into a well-known community establishment, it has also caught some attention on a larger scale, having been highlighted in a few TV shows, as well as featured in Southern Living’s Off the Eaten Path cookbook, Southern Livings Best Drives & Dives and Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue.
The Dunnings Bio
The barbeque journey started for Okie Dokies’ founder Steve Dunning as a kid growing up watching his grandfather “Smiley” smoking whole chickens over an open charcoal pit at family gatherings. At that time, he never dreamed he would later make a life revolving around a bbq pit, but that’s exactly what happened. The start of the business coincides with the beginning of the Dunning family. Steve and his wife, Jody, had their first date the night before he took the “Red Wagon” out for the first time. She worked alongside him to get the truck ready for its premiere. They married one year later and now have three children who are excited to carry on the barbeque tradition. When the Dunning’s find time to get away from the restaurant, they love to travel in their RV. Their goal is for their kids to see all 50 states before graduating from high school. While close to home, they enjoy spending time hiking and biking on the abundance of spectacular mountain trails.“I want to do what he does”- Asher Dunning (use picture from porch- 0080- but put the quote in a box covering the lighter fluid bottle?)
Tonya, Catering Coordinator
Catering Coordinator, Tonya, has been an integral part of Okie Dokies from its first year. Having grown up in the Swannanoa Valley area around a family owned restaurant, she brings a tremendous amount of experience to Okie Dokies. If you haven’t worked with her yet, you will quickly find her outgoing and personable nature help her to meet your every catering need. Her experience, professionalism and knowledge of the area venues are a huge benefit to all of our customers. When Tonya’s not working, she loves hanging with her family and getting “wind time” on her Harley.