Johny Hendricks has a mean left hook.
But can he make a mean steak?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight star is now in a food fight as the financial backer of Bigg Rigg Steakhouse in Midlothian.
Hendricks recently took us on a tour of the restaurant, which opened in January. It's mostly a family-run shop, with Hendricks' wife's grandmother Norma Henderson manning the salad station and his father-in-law Barry Henderson as director of operations. Come on a Friday or Saturday night and you might even get waited on by Hendricks and his wife Christina. "We've even had him bus tables," his father-in-law said.
Hendricks sat down and ordered a steak with green beans. He's avoiding the carbs because he is fighting on March 14 against Matt Brown in UFC 185 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. He said he gets one earned meal a week. "I have a baked potato," he says, smiling.
Hendricks says he's in much better shape for this fight because of a new training regime, including not allowing himself to go over 200 pounds. He fights at 170 pounds.
So why a restaurant? Hendricks says he's focused on giving back to Midlothian, where he has settled with his wife and three daughters. He would also like to help veterans. He's already held a Chris Kyle Day event with proceeds goings to the Frog Foundation, the charity started by Taya Kyle, the wife of the famous sniper. Hendricks' family lives blocks away from the Kyle family.
"Johny fell in love with Midlothian so much," Henderson said. "He likes the country feel."
There's not much UFC or mixed martial arts at the restaurant. The walls are chalkboards with messages about the food, and Hendricks' trademark slogan, "Go Beard or Go Home."
There's not much UFC or mixed martial arts at the restaurant. The walls are chalkboards with messages about the food, and Hendricks' trademark slogan, "Go Beard or Go Home." There is a picture of Hendricks in fighting garb outside.
The restaurant serves six different steaks from a $13 eight-ounce sirloin to a $21 for a 16-ounce T-Bone. There's also the Bigg Rigg Club, an eight-ounce sirloin marinated for 48 hours.
Bigg Rigg loads up on the sides at no additional cost. All steaks come with salad, baked potato, green beans and corn. There are still some kinks to work out, including finalizing a liquor license.
The restaurant gets its Bigg Rigg name from Hendricks' nickname.
Hendricks explains: "The nickname came because I drive an F350; I pulled up to go to practice one day and a guy said, 'That looks like a big rig.' And beforehand Marc Laimon, my jiu-jitsu coach, said I hit like a Mack truck, so the nickname was born. (on the double g's) I was playing World of Warcraft and big rig was already taken so I did bigg rigg and it worked. That's how we got the spelling."
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