In Atoka’s piece of paradise, barbeque is the name of the game. From a good old slab of ribs to their smoked chicken wings or even turkeys for Thanksgiving’ Paradise Grill is where you want to go if you are looking for something out of the ordinary; whether it is their barbeque or something else entirely.
Owners Mike and Gina Godwin strive to bring the best quality experience around. Mike told us that “Everything on the menu is something I handpicked for it. We’ve taken things off the menu that I liked, but customers didn’t like or were hard to prepare at the speed we needed it prepared by.” Gina continued the thought saying, “We wanted to have a menu where anybody could come in any day of the week and have something different.”
Different is right!
When walking up to Paradise Grill, one of the first things you see is a sign hanging right above the door. The sign proclaims Paradise Grill to be the home of the BBQ Eggroll. “It’s a funny story actually,” Mike said, “Oh, about 20 years ago when I was a manager at FedEx, I had a lady that worked for me. She was from the Philippines and would make lumpia--which is a type of Filipino spring roll. She used to bring them to our work parties and I loved them.” He loved them so much that his co-worker eventually ended up teaching him how to make lumpia. That’s where the barbeque comes into play. The Godwin’s were having a party one evening. Mike said, “I was cooking barbeque and I was going to make some lumpia,” but then he had an idea asking himself, “‘I wonder what will happen if I put a BBQ sandwich inside one of these shells?’ People loved them. I’ve been making the eggrolls ever since.”
Paradise Grill got its start thanks to barbeque competitions. It was in 2009 that Mike and a friend were at Memphis in May. They were standing on top of one of the three-story rigs that they have down there eating some of the barbeque. That’s when Mike’s friend told him, “Your ribs are way better than this,” asking if, maybe, they should compete. He wound up convinced that they could do this thing. That was back in May. Mike ended up going back to work the next week and then started looking for smokers. Now, it took some convincing to get his friend on board, but by October they had entered the Covington BBQ contest. While it was their first one ever, at the end of the day, they had a good time competing.
The theme for Paradise Grill also has ties to the competition days. The beach theme started out with Mike and his dad who loved Jimmy Buffet. They called themselves the Paradise Porkers and won lots of different trophies that you can see all over the restaurant!
One thing that makes Paradise Grill unique is that they use cherry wood to smoke their meats. Their profile is probably a little different than most because Mike goes and cuts cherry trees down so they can use the wood fresh. The wood isn’t seasoned, and they find that it's just a really good sweet-smelling wood. It gives their meat a good color; more of a mahogany, red color. The owners of Paradise Grill have used it, almost since they started. They did use hickory for a short period in the beginning because that’s what most people use when they cook barbeque.
The Godwin’s also have a food truck that they started about two years ago. The truck goes to different companies mainly in Memphis, but they have been to a few schools like Drummonds Elementary. Gina told us that she likes being able to stay local with the food truck. The Paradise Grill food truck was at many of the different festivals in our area. When we saw them at the Rosemark Country Fair and Celebrate Munford, there were people flocking to the truck. Paradise Grill also offers on-site and off-site catering for special events, business meetings, parties fundraisers and more! They offer a variety of classic favorites to make your corporate or private event a success! “Service and quality are the most important things to us,” The Godwins told us, before adding, “That’s what we try to do here; we try to give personal service to everybody.”
Mike will tell you that “I didn’t pick barbeque, barbeque picked me,” but going from a sort of dare to a fully fledged career has worked out very well for the Godwins and continues to do so. To contact Paradise Grill about any of their services, give them a call at 901-837-4582.