Meat on the Fire – Bunks BBQ Began at the Fair

Careers in livestock production, farming, woodworking, sewing, and even beekeeping often start with a youngster showing at the county fair. Adults don’t usually have a career changing event at the county fair, but that was the case for James and Brigett Bunker of Riverton.

The couple own and operate Bunks BBQ at 201 East Washington in Riverton, but their roots are firmly set at the Fremont County Fair.

“We’re busier with the food truck and catering than we are at the restaurant,” James said. “We have at least five or six times the volume at the fair than we do during a regular week at the restaurant.”

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A restaurant on wheels {h/t Randy Tucker}

The Bunks BBQ truck is just one of many vendors including Dippin Dots, Texas Twister, Mini Donuts and Ice Cream, Deb’s Bread Wagon, and Incredible Edibles Catering, but they’re the only one that operates a standard restaurant year-round as well.

“We’ll all spend a little extra to go to the county fair,” James said. “It’s tradition, it’s family, it’s who we are.”

Bunks BBQ started with a mobile food operation that almost came to a halt when a fire destroyed their entire operation a few years ago.

“Our trailer burned down,” James said. “It was because of the fair that we stayed in business with the support of the community. I’m so glad the community is still supporting the fair. We’re founded on the county fair and catering.”

James Bunker and Emma Crichton transferred coleslaw and salad to the food truck {h/t Randy Tucker}

Bunks BBQ has an advantage over many of the other food vendors since they do have the restaurant as a preparation area a short distance away where they can prepare and transfer food from.

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“We have two or three people working at the restaurant to supply the truck,” James said.

They have one smoker next to the trailer and another preparing brisket, pulled pork, and chicken back at the restaurant. They also have pans of macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and salads delivered to the truck.

James Bunker and Emma Crichton prepared for the afternoon rush {h/t Randy Tucker}

“It’s Jack, Vince, or myself at the restaurant keeping things going,” James said.

Brisket and “Mac and Cheese” are their best-selling items.

Emma Crichton waited to take orders {h/t Randy Tucker}

As every restaurant in Riverton, and possibly America as a whole knows help is getting harder and harder to find.

“We’re always looking for help,” James said. “If you can cook, we’re hiring cooks.”

After the fair ends it’s back to the regular restaurant schedule from Monday to Friday 4:30 to 8:30 pm.

An afternoon crowd waited in line outside the Bunks BBQ truck {h/t Randy Tucker}

The food court at the Fremont County Fair is always busy, with the picnic tables packed with happy customers from the many vendors serving them. It’s become an integral part of the fair.

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