The smell of barbeque is among the most irresistible sensations known to man. For six months now, Salty’s Barbeque and Catering has been servicing the Bakersfield area with this olfactory pleasure and the food that goes with it, all from a small shack on Rosedale Highway.
“We’re just a good, old-fashioned barbeque joint,” owner Jeff Salters said. “We cook chicken and tri-tip over a red oak open wood fire and we smoke pulled pork, beef ribs and pork ribs.”
Salters, the owner and brains of the humble operation, said his drive to start a restaurant stemmed from his love of cooking for those he loves. The family feeling definitely carries over into the atmosphere of the outdoor dining establishment, as the seating area brings to mind a backyard barbeque invoking an intimate closeness that mostly comes with sharing a meal with family.
“I’ve always loved cooking for friends and family,” Salters said. “Any time we’d get together, that’s what I did. I was the cook.”
Salters has been cooking for 20 years, only just recently opening the restaurant that somewhat bears his name. In his 20 years of experience, Salters has invented his own dry rub, smoking techniques and method of cooking tri-tip.
In addition to cooking for recreational purposes, Salters studied the ins and outs of the restaurant business through his position as a sales representative in the food service industry.
“I saw what was going on and I liked it,” Salters said. “I got an inside view of the restaurant industry and it got me thinking, ‘I’d like to do that.’”
In 2010, Salters started a catering business of the same name that continues to operate under the same roof as the restaurant. One night after church Salters passed by the location which, at the time, had a “for rent” sign out front. Within two weeks, Salty’s was officially open for business as a sit-down restaurant.
Christy and Linda Crane, Arkansas natives and first-time customers at Salty’s, had great things to say about the restaurant.
“I had the pulled pork sandwich and it was delicious,” Christy Crane said. “This is the best barbeque I’ve had since I moved here.”
Salters says he understands the importance of a good first impression and has made customer service a cornerstone of his still-new business.
“You can have great food, but if you don’t have great people, they’re going somewhere else,” Salters said.
Crane agreed with Salters, saying, “The customer service was great and the people are friendly. We’ll definitely be coming back.”
Salters has turned his catering business into one of the most popular barbeque restaurants in Kern County, having solidified a spot in the Top Three list of “Best New Restaurants” in The Bakersfield Californian’s Best of Kern readers’ choice poll.
Salty’s, located on 9425 Rosedale Highway, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, barbeque fans can get their tri-tip fix from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.