American culture is something often taught in school, but rarely can
one learn about it by just simply walking in a restaurant. Red House
BBQ in Tehachapi, California is doing just that by combining food
"It's a lifestyle," said Mano
Lujan, owner of Red House BBQ. "It's how we live; it's how
Now Lujan has found a way to share his
culture with his entire community by adding barbeque to traditional
Native American foods.
"We didn't just eat acorns and buffalo,"
said Lujan. "We actually have a cuisine. It's simple, but simple
Lujan is half Native American. He said
he embraced that at an early age, and later, found a way to incorporate
it with his dream.
"It was never meant to be an attraction
thing," said Lujan. "It was just me saying, 'Here I am;
this is me.' You can walk into my restaurant and know a little bit
about me right away."
It's not only the food that reflects Native
American culture, but also the decor. It includes artwork, animals,
and teepees. Customers can sit in teepees and eat. Lujan said he
decorated that way because his dream restaurant wasn't just about
"It was about understanding,"
said Lujan. "It was about people kind of learning about my
culture in a new way."
Something customers from all over embrace.
Some even said it reminds them of home.
"Where I'm from, it's just like this,"
said Justin Bradbury, a customer. "So its good to see the stuffed
animals and the old tools and stuff like that. It feels just like
home, except a long ways away."
Whether it's the food or the teepees that
attract customers, Lujan is happy to be giving the community a different
kind of experience.
"Take it if you want; It's there,"
said Lujan. "As Indian people, that's usually how we are. If
you want to learn, come around. I'll educate you without preaching
The third Friday of every month, Red House
BBQ hosts "Native Night". They expand their menu and bring
in bands to play traditional Native American music.