The Jay Ducote Show: Black Restaurant Week w/ Geno McLaughlin & Carlos Thomas

On today’s show we kick of our segment celebrating Black Restaurant Week with Geno Mclaughlin with Build Baton Rouge and Carlos Thomas from Memphis Mac BBQ. Jay talks with both about the origins behind this event and the importance of showcasing the many locally black owned restaurants we have here in Baton Rouge.


Geno McLaughlin is the Community Engagement Specialist of Build Baton Rouge. He has been an invaluable partner, helping me and the rest of the Co-City team to establish local relationships, understand the local landscape, and provide valuable insight that is not found in any social media or text book. He has worked with BBR for just over a year but has been a local activist on equality issues for many years. He holds a degree from Southern University and A & M College, (Baton Rouge, LA) and was recently recognized as a member of 2019’s Greater Baton Rouge Business Report Forty Under 40 class!


When the Memphis native first dreamt of leaving a 20-year career as a professor to open his own barbecue joint, this is what he imagined. He wanted to have an easygoing and friendly spot where locals could get authentic Memphis-style barbecue. Perhaps that’s why Memphis Mac BBQ owner Carlos Thomas doesn’t take it lightly. Every day at 5 a.m.,Thomas starts putting seasoned meat into his large two-chamber grill and smoker. Around 2 p.m., he takes the meat out, wraps the ribs and pork in foil to soak in the juices and lets them cook overnight until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

The restaurant opened in the space formerly occupied by Sky Hook Cafe off Chippewa Street near ExxonMobil. Though Memphis Mac BBQ is still in its first year of business, the restaurant has already confirmed its second location will be at the new shipping container park in Mid City, Millennial Park, expected to open this August.