August 10, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Mark Kuchenbecker’s course to operating his own restaurant – Marko’s Smokin’ BBQ – was a process that started nine years ago.
“Doing things in the driveway to pass the time is kind of when I started,” Kuchenbecker said. First, he started smoking fish, which his family and friends loved. But they had the suggestion for him to start smoking pork and other meats as well.
“I had no clue what to do. So, I did some research on it and started playing with it and before I knew, they liked the product,” he said. Then, his family and friends needed sauce for the food he was mastering.
“It took me six years to perfect [the sauce].” Once the sauce was perfected? His family and friends asked for it to be bottled so they could use it whenever they wanted.
His two different sauces – a regular version and a spicy version – are now available in nearly a dozen locations including at Marko’s and Econofoods in Brillion. Both sauces are made with all natural non-GMO ingredients and have no high fructose corn syrup.
“Wisconsin doesn’t typically have a barbeque sauce,” Kuchenbecker said, so he took tastes from Memphis, North Carolina and Texas. “It’s marketed as a barbeque sauce, but it’s an all-purpose sauce.”
Kuchenbecker says he knew to keep the sauce recipe the same when he began getting consistent feedback from everyone who used it. The bottles are marketed with a logo that he had the idea for, and worked with a team of designers out of the Los Angeles area. Family and friends were using his food at weddings and other family events so much that Kuchenbecker bought a large smoker that he now uses at his restaurant.
Last August, he began construction on Marko’s at 910 West Ryan Street in Suite D. His cousin, Todd Kuchenbecker, who operates Premier Auto and Underground Archery at the location, owns the building and asked him if he’d be interested.
“It just kind of blossomed,” Kuchenbecker said.
Kuchenbecker cooks all the food fresh daily. He comes in at 3:30 a.m. and stays until after 7 p.m. The restaurant has regular customers, and an average wait time of just four minutes. He’s also working on expanded seating outdoors. In addition to still doing weddings, he also brings the goods by catering to local businesses in Brillion.
“I’ve been joking with people that I’d do paramedic school twice over before opening a restaurant,” Kuchkenbecker said.
Please see the complete story, including Marko’s recent awards and charity donations, in the August 10, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.