The Mikeska Family
The story behind the Mikeska Family is a truly unique example of a poor immigrant family from Czechoslovakia who in the late 19th century ventured to Texas with the hope of raising a Christian family in a fertile farm area in Williamson County, Texas. What happened in the next 100 years is proof that a loving, hard working family can establish a world renowned reputation for service and dedication to their customers and the perpetual preservation of the Mikeska Family name.
Now as the Mikeska Family approaches their centennial mark in Texas, they continue to exhibit the same qualities as did John Mikeska and Francis Valis Mikeska in dedication and devotion to their heritage and Christian values. The nine children, 34 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren of John and Francis inherit a special legacy of family commitment and hard work. Many print articles, publications, awards and acknowledgments have been given to this family over many years.
The beginning of this unique family started with the courtship of John Mikeska and a young Francis Valis. They both came from large Czech families who at a very young age immigrated to the United States via Galveston Texas. The Valis family took roots in the central Texas community of Corn Hill. The Mikeska family settled in the fertile farm area around Taylor. They proceeded to have nine children and raised them on a farm three miles south of Taylor. The beginning of the Mikeska Family's meat business operations began in the 1920's when John Mikeska was the leader of what was called a "beef club." He and his six young sons, went to other area family farms and processed cattle, hogs, goats, chickens, and sheep. Their payment for these services was the allotment of certain meat cuts for themselves. The Mikeska Family's hospitality and their devotion to hard work became synonymous in central Texas. In addition to their beef club, John Mikeska raised cotton, corn, maize and wheat.
The Mikeska children
learned at an early age that to be successful you had to establish your
name and maintain the core values that their parents instilled in them.
The beginning of the retail food business began when Rudy Mikeska, 3rd son
of John, returned from World War II to manage the Taylor Country Club. There,
he began the catering business that is still in operation today with over
1,600 annual events. While at the Country Club, Rudy became famous for some
of his "high profile" clients. Then Senator and later President
Lyndon Johnson, State Senators, US Congressman, Hollywood Actors, and The
British Royal Family all became clients and friends to Rudy Mikeska.
Rudy's other brothers also came into the business in the 1950's and 1960's. Mike Mikeska opened a Bar-B-Q in Smithville, Jerry opened one in Columbus, Louis in Temple, Maurice in El Campo and finally Clem in Temple. Each brother had their own style and recipe for their product. The one quality that was the same in all of the Mikeska businesses was "service." As each of the businesses grew, the brothers expanded to meet the growing necessity of their reputation. Rudy Mikeska had three barbecue stands in Taylor and the famous "L&M" restaurant in nearby Georgetown. Rudy worked 18 to 20 hours a day nourishing his customers and staff. In 1971, he combined all of his businesses into one massive restaurant and catering complex in Taylor. That complex can produce meals for over 3,000 people every hour! State-of-the-art "Roto-Flex-Smokers" that can hold 1,000 lbs of product are lined 4 abreast in his catering kitchen. Steam kettles that can hold 240 gallons of either sauce or beans round out the kitchens ability to produce immense quantities of food. Rudy designed his own glazed brick oak wood smoker that can smoke 1,000 lbs of sausage or hams. A fleet of 11 vehicles keeps the catering operation on the road every day of the week. Rudy has two large trailer Bar-B-Q pits that can cook on location anywhere in the United States. It was his ability, along with his dear brothers, that led to Texas Monthly Magazine naming the Mikeska Family......
The First Family of Texas Barbecue
Read the 1986 Texas Monthly Article
| The Second Generation
Thankfully, the second generation of the Mikeska Family realized early on that they had a unique heritage. Each brothers children showed a keen interest in the operations of each location. They all grew up making sausage and catering with their father. The Mikeska Family had 3 girls. They, and their children also entered the food business. Ann Mikeska Jozwiak owned and operated the Diamond Inn for 50 years. This cafe was featured in the movies... "Hot Spot," "Perfect World," and "Heart Break Hotel." Val Mikeska Lindeman helps manage her brother Clem's operations in Temple. Martha Mikeska Vanecek's children Benny and Michael saw their uncles achievements and began buying McDonalds franchises. They both are highly respected and successful in their own right. Both Vanecek brothers sit on the National Operating Board of Directors for McDonalds Corporation. Rudy's children.... Judy and Tim both direct the core of the family corporations based in Taylor. Maurice's children.... Laurice, Nick and Gerry run the El Campo operations. Clem's children.... Angela, Anna and Stephen manage the Temple locations. The Mikeska cousins are well educated and prepared to take the family business into the next century. They are dedicated to maintaining the family legacy and the spirit of their grandparents and parents. They confer on a daily basis to pool their vast resources in developing new creative menus and products. In 1996, The Baylor University Institute for Family Business named the family's holding corporation, Mikeska's Bar-B-Q Inc., as Semi-finalist for Outstanding Family Business of the Year. They achieved distinction over 300 other family owned businesses in Texas. This accomplishment epitomizes the tradition of the Mikeska Family, the fulfillment of a loving, traditional Czech - Texan clan. In 1989, The Mikeska Family was honored by The Texas State Legislature with an Honorary Resolution marking the loss of Rudy Mikeska Sr.
Rudy Mikeska Sr.
Volumes can be written about the founder of the Bar-B-Q Empire, Rudy Mikeska Sr. (1920-1989) Rudy was known throughout Texas as a "people person" dedicated to making every event he touched a glorious occasion. Rudy would counsel young couples in preparing their wedding. He wanted everything to be perfect, especially the food. That tradition continues today. Rudy Mikeska's Bar-B-Q Inc. in Taylor is now catering the weddings of grandchildren of previous customers. Rudy Mikeska coordinated large catered events like the IBM Family Day for 21,000 guests. The South Texas Nuclear project for 18,000 guests.
He personally catered for US Presidents.... Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. He served 3 Texas Governor Inaugurals, the caterer of choice for Texas State Legislature, and provided the meals for the last 11 Texas State Governor-for-a-Day events. The most important thing that can be said about Rudy Mikeska was his charity and love for his fellow man and his family. Rudy, in his 44-year career, never turned anyone away hungry. He knew hunger very well. He donated over $50,000 in food yearly to many deserving charities.
He has brought the company into the 21st Century by selling "Mikeska Brand" products all over the world via his Internet Marketing Website at:
Tim raised awareness of his company and it's accomplishments by being featured on numerous network and cable television programs. Tim was featured on the FoodNetworks, Food Nations Program with chef host Bobby Flay. He stared in the Emmy award winning "Masters of Texas Barbecue" PBS, Travel Channel and Discovery Channel feature. Tim, along with his El Campo cousins, was featured on Memorial Day in New York on the CBS Early Show. Tim and his son Timothy will be featured on the Travel Channel with Chef Andrew Zimmern expected to air in early 2009.
The most amazing thing about his accomplishments is his ability to do these events as far away as Bosnia, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Canada, England, Italy, New Jersey, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.
Some of Tim's proudest moments were traveling to Bosnia to serve his
Bar-B-Q to U.S. Peacekeepers on July 4th and to Texas Task Force One
upon their return from New York and rescue operations at the World Trade
Center. He also served the 4th
Infantry Division upon their return to Texas after capturing Saddam
Hussein and donated a feast for over 3,000 Texas National Guard Soldiers
and their families upon their return from active duty in Europe.
these accomplishments as a patriot, Tim was awarded the Texas Eagle
Award for service to the State of Texas Military Forces and he was awarded
the Seven Seals award by the Armed Services of the United States. The
Governor of Texas named Tim.... "The
Commissioner of Texas Barbecue"
The one thing that Tim prides himself on, is his continuation of personally producing the sausage that is served in the Mikeska's. This is the same sausage that Rudy Sr. began making in the 1940's. Tim started making sausage with his father when he was only 7 years old. He literally had to stack old wooden Coke crates to stand on to reach the linking table. That same sausage is being sold at the critically acclaimed Smoque BBQ in Chicago.
Maurice and Tim Mikeska
The Food Networks FoodNations Program featuring Tim Mikeska with Chef Bobby Flay. The .mpg has been uploaded and can be found here: (this file is about 89megabytes so it may take a while to load)
to see how all this good BBQ is made?
The Impressive List
and TV Programs...
Rudy Mikeska's Bar-B-Q, Inc.
300 W. 2nd Street
Taylor, Texas 76574
512.365.3722 or 800.962.5706
© Copyright Rudy Mikeska's Bar-B-Q, Inc., 1999. All rights reserved.