He almost lost his life in Iraq. Now Feges pitmaster serves craft barbecue to veterans free of charge


Bao Ong, Houston Chronicle (TX)

Sep. 19, 2022


Patrick Feges, a Purple Heart recipient, knows what itís like to be a forgotten veteran.


Last month, the 37-year-old pitmaster came back from a barbecue festival in California and was ready to pay $150 for parking his truck at Bush Intercontinental Airport. But he says a parking lot attendant stopped him when she noticed a Purple Heart medal designation on his license plate. She told him he didnít have to pay the fee ó a benefit he says he didnít know existed.


Itís usually been the other way around these days for Feges: Heís a veteran, who nearly died in Iraq, turned chef who helps out other veterans.


Feges, who owns two locations of Feges BBQ in Houston with his wife Erin Smith, had offered veterans free meals before. In fall 2020, however, the couple started offering lunches on the house for veterans every Friday with the help of an anonymous donor. Itís been going on ever since.


The meat selection at the Greenway Plaza location, where the meals are available, includes cuts of fatty brisket, tender pork ribs and smoky burnt ends. Sides of elote corn salad, hog fat cornbread and spiced cracklins are also typically available.


For veterans, no questions are asked and a bill never appears.


The donated meals are offered as a small sign of support for fellow veterans, Feges says.


On a recent Friday, nearly half a dozen service members gathered around a table at the bottom level of a Greenway Plaza office building. They plowed through their plates of barbecue just shortly after 11 a.m., when Feges opens for lunch...