Partners in business and partners in life, this story rings true in many Texas Barbecue joints across the Lone Star State. For Misty & Todd David, it was a story that evolved later in life from a passion that led them to a top spot on the coveted 2017 Texas Monthly Top 50 Barbecue list.
Meet Misty David, one half of the duo from this darling of Dallas, Cattleack Barbeque. If you have had the pleasure of stopping by, you most likely have met Misty as she greeted you with a cheerful smile as you shuffled your tray of Smoked Meats down her counter line.
Keep reading to learn more about our visit with Misty David, in this edition of “Tales of a Barbecue Wife.”
Interview by: Catherine Stiles
Portraits by: Wyatt McSpadden
Name: Misty David
Cattleack Barbeque- Dallas, Texas
Age: 53 well, in December I’ll be 53
Tell me a little bit about where you are from & where you grew up:
I grew up in Cincinnati Ohio. It was a nice place to grow up because I lived kind of close to the Ohio river which divides Ohio & Kentucky.
I spent my childhood boating on the river with my family. I learned to water ski and I guess that’s where I learned to love the outdoors. It was very pretty in the summertime, and being from the Midwest we enjoyed all four seasons there. The winters were really cold. I actually saw the Ohio river freeze a few times. My teenage years were late 70’s and early 80’s. We went to the roller skating rink every weekend, enjoyed drive-in movies, and all the kids in my neighborhood gathered at my house and we hung out playing pool and swimming in the summertime. I later began riding horses (Tennessee Walkers) and spent every weekend riding them at East Fork State Park. I miss that more than anything. Those were good times.
Tell me a little bit about your family. What did your parents do? What influence did they have on you becoming the woman you are today?
My dad was a truck driver for a big trucking company and he was a union man. Very strong and independent, and he had the best personality. He could fix anything! We had a detached garage in back and he was always in there working on lawnmowers, cars, boats or something. I would spend my days out there with him listening to country music and tinkering around in the garage with him when he was home.
He taught me how to use tools and let me help him all the time. My mom was a homemaker and she volunteered at our school in the school nurses office when we we young. She was always home with us after school and she made sure we had 3 home cooked meals every day and we ate as a family together every night. I guess I got my accountability from her.
What were you like as a child? What did you want to be when you grew up?
I am the oldest of 3 girls. I loved being outside and excelled in school. I had my first job at 15. I became very independent and was on my own at 18. I thought I was going to be a flight attendant and see the world. I knew from a very young age that I was not going to stay in Ohio. I have always been the type to want to see the world and experience as much as I could. I always wished I lived by the ocean. The flight attendant thing didn’t last very long and I ended up in sales. I have a very outgoing personality, so I did pretty well in sales.
How did you meet your husband? How did you both land in the barbecue business?
I took a job with a large flooring company to run their carpet maintenance division. They sent me to Denver Colorado for training and my husband was there to teach a class about commercial carpet maintenance because he had a commercial carpet and upholstery cleaning business here in Dallas. His company was partnered with the company I was working for. I spent 2 weeks learning from him and others in Denver, came back to Cincinnati and worked for about a year until I decided I didn’t like it very much. When I resigned, Todd got word of it and he offered me a position here in Dallas to work for him. So, I came to Dallas and we began working as a team. We ended up falling in love, got married and grew that business together.
Todd had always “BBQ’d” as a hobby. We started having a free BBQ lunch once a month for our customers which became a huge hit. Todd would cook Brisket, Ribs, Turkey complete with all the sides and peach cobbler for them and they loved it. When we sold that business we thought we would start up a BBQ catering business and cater to the corporate clients that we had developed relationships with. After a couple of years dabbling around with that we found the location we now have and started opening for lunch only on Fridays. That grew to Thursday and Friday and now here we are. It all just kinda evolved for us. Meant to be I guess.
Tell me a little bit about the business of barbecue. What do you think people might not know about the day in the life of Misty and your role in the business?
Well to be honest, I’m not involved in the day to day cooking part of the business. Todd and I learned early on that to be as cohesive as we are together in business that he has to do his thing, and I do mine. We don’t cross into one another’s lane. He runs the kitchen, comes up with the recipes and manages the staff. I do the marketing, recruiting, manage all of the pre-orders and create our weekly email that goes out to all of our customers. On the days we are open for lunch I am the smiling face that greets our customers when we open the doors, and I am the girl that cashes them out and tells them how much we appreciate them. I love shaking their hands and getting to know them by name. I feel like every week my friends come over to eat with us. That makes it fun you know?
What is the best thing about being in the Barbecue Business? What do you enjoy the most? Any funny stories you want to share about being in the business?
Well, for me the best thing about the BBQ business is that everyone loves to eat great food, and we have really great food, so that excites people. I enjoy listening to folks tell their friends that they have brought to Cattleack for the first time how good the food that they’re about to eat is. I love to see the look on their faces when they see a big Beef Rib on someone’s tray. I also love it when Todd and I go out to dinner or something and someone comes up to him and says “man your BBQ is the best stuff in town”. To see Todd smile and thank them is the best feeling in the world.
Obviously not everyday is a fun filled adventure in the craft barbecue business. What is the worst thing about being in the barbecue business?
I think the worst thing about being in the business is that everyone’s comparing you to something else. Some folks just can’t be pleased no matter what. That kinda stuff bothers me a little.
You are a mom, which is also a big job. How do you juggle being a mom and an entrepreneur in the family business? Any advice you would like to give to working moms in general and making it all happen everyday
I had it pretty easy really. We only have 1 child and he is from Todd’s first marriage. He was 7 when Todd and I got married so I’ve not been through the whole infant thing. Raising Riley was pretty easy because he is so much like Todd. Very smart, independent and easy going. I took him to and from school and attended all of his sporting activities. Todd held the business down, no problem. Only having 1 child made it easy I think. I don’t know how I would have managed if there would have been more. Being a mom is the toughest job on earth, and the most fulfilling. I guess if I were to give any advice it would be to put the child first, they are gone so fast.
What do you do for fun? Favorite Vacation spots you would like to share?
I love to swim, ride my bike and plant flowers. I also love animals very much so we have two dogs. Our dogs are a huge part of our lives now since Riley is on his own. We also love to shoot guns, big and small. On the weekends we go to a shooting center and shoot moving targets and we really enjoy that. When we travel we love to go to places where we can ride horses. One of our favorite places to go is the Alisal Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, and we love Hawaii.
When you are not eating at Cattleack BBQ where would you send someone visiting your town?
Oh wow, Dallas has so much to offer! Todd is such a foodie, we eat at so many places. Some of our favorites include Yao Fuzi for Chinese food, Bob’s Chophouse, Edoko for sushi and Cadillac Pizza in McKinney Texas.
When you actually get the chance…what do you do with girlfriends on a “Night Out” on the town?
Believe it or not, I don’t go out on the town unless it’s with Todd!
I am the biggest PRINCE fan you’ll ever meet. I have loved his music ever since I was 13 or 14. I still listen to it every day.
If you were to empty out your purse on the table right now, what would we find?
Five or 6 lipsticks, my wallet, pens, gum, a brush, aspirin, my cell phone, reader eyeglasses (2 pairs) one for me and one for Todd. (Maybe a dog chewy)
Is there a local or national charitable cause that you support? (I’m a big supporter of shedding light on to charitable causes people just might not know about..so fire away).
I am a huge animal activist. I contribute to PETA, ASPCA, The Humane Society….all of the animal welfare organizations. We recently donated to the Salvation Army for the Hurricane Harvey victims.
We close every interview with a favorite recipe that you would like to share. Its a chance for all of “us” to take a little bit of “you” home with us. There is nothing more transcending than swapping a recipe from one friend to another. So, from your favorite family recipe to a party favorite, we would love to share one of your favorites.
Ok, I am certainly not the best cook, Todd can vouch for that! One of Todd and Riley’s favorites is a South Beach Recipe I make called Steak Dianne. So here it goes….
“MISTY DAVID’S” STEAK DIANNE
(4) center cut tenderloin medallions (I use filet mignon)
1/2 cup of Parkay squeeze margarine
1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup of sliced mushroom caps
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 teaspoons mustard powder
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon of coarsley ground black pepper & a little salt
Put your plates into a warmed oven so you can plate the steaks when they are ready.
Place each steak between 2 pieces of waxed paper or place into a gallon size Ziplock baggie and pound the steaks one at a time with a meat mallot until they are about 1/2″ thick. Dry the steaks with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
In a large chafing dish over medium heat melt 3 tablespoons of the Parkay margarine. Increase the heat to medium high, and cook each steak for 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
Lower the heat to medium again and melt the remaining margarine. Add the shallots, mushroom caps and the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the mustard and the Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Return the steaks to the pan, and cook to medium rare (or your preferred doneness). Place the steaks on warm serving plates leaving the other stuff in the pan. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and chives to the pan and mix thoroughly. Cook for about 30 seconds or just until warm and then our the mixture on top of the steaks and serve with your vegetable of choice.
Thats a wrap!
Thank you Misty for sharing a little bit of “you” with all of us. Our adventures are taking us far and wide across the Lone Star State to meeting so many different, dynamic, and wonderful “Barbecue Wives” from so many different backgrounds. One theme so far rings true, all of these women are doing what they love and it shines through the moment you meet them.
Till Next Time!