70 Pounds of Brisket Stolen from Struggling Petaluma Restaurant, Local Community Pitches In

After months of COVID-related downturns, Roy’s Chicago Dogs owner Chris Caudill faced another setback. He was blown away by the support he received from the local community.

Roy’s Chicago Dogs owner Chris Caudill isn’t a guy who likes seeing his own mug on camera. But after finding his restaurant smoker mysteriously emptied of 70 pounds of brisket last Thursday morning, he spontaneously recorded a video that moved a community to respond.

“It’s kind of hard right now with the COVID thing and businesses being shut down basically, and then somebody comes in here and steals the brisket on a day that I’m having a big barbecue promotion,” he said in the video. “So, I’m putting this out there, and probably nothing’s gonna come of it. But if you heard anything … or if someone shows up with 70 pounds of brisket, gimme a call and let me know,” he said.

Quickly, people shared and reshared the impromptu video on social media and flooded Caudill with offers of support. Four new briskets showed up for his smoker. The community engulfed his small businesses with love, and orders — so much so that he got a little overwhelmed, though he said most customers understood.

“No one dinged us on Yelp,” he said.

Struggling after months of COVID-related downturns for his small cafe at the historic Petaluma stockyard, Caudill was blown away by the big response from the local food community.

“It makes me feel like it’s worth continuing to do this, because …you know, you bleed a bucket of blood for every dollar you make,” he said. “But this has given me faith in humanity. We have political differences and the world is in chaos, but it’s amazing that something this simple could unite a community. … That’s something we really need right now.”

Caudill said he’s more than financially made up for his brisket loss and feels a little guilty about all the attention, but he’s grateful for the outpouring of love.

So far, no one has found the brisket.

Roy’s Chicago Dogs at the Yard features barbecue Thursday through Saturday along with Chicago-style hot dogs, shakes, fries and more at 84 Corona Road in Petaluma. More details at facebook.com/royschicagodogs