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Omaha Magazine

Owner/Operators Wayne and Karla Dinges

May 29, 2020 02:32PM ● By Tara Spencer

Wayne Dinges
Owner/Operator
Smokin Barrel BBQ

Wayne Dinges, age 45, has worked in restaurants, hotels, and arenas. Working in those types of corporate environments is not something he misses. 

The Air Force veteran said he has always been interested in food service and received training from Metropolitan Community College and “life’s hard roads, with lots of mistakes.” 

“My favorite thing about my job is interaction with people, seeing people enjoy the food and hearing laughter,” he said.

Smoking meat has always been a hobby for Dinges, but now he gets to make it his main gig and full-time passion. 

“Since COVID-19, it has slowed down a bit.” While doing takeout, he said they went beyond what the recommendations were, only allowing two people in at a time. He said they tried 10 at first, but it didn’t work out, indicating that people weren’t keeping their distance. “We don’t want to become ground zero for that s---.” 

In a follow-up interview, Dinges said he did not plan on opening back up on May 4. “We want people back. I think that’s what we miss the most. My biggest mental downfall is we don’t hear the laughter, we don’t hear people happy, we don’t have that interaction,” he said “But in order to get that back, and have it come back stronger, [it’s important] not to have a resurgence.” 

This article was printed in the June 2020 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.