By Cicero A. Estrella
As a kid growing up in Missouri, Darryl Bell Jr. learned the value of giving back to the community by joining his mom to volunteer at local soup kitchens.
Napa is now home for Bell, the Chef de Cuisine at PRESS in St. Helena, and he continues to give back through his business venture, Stateline Road BBQ. Since its founding 10 years ago, Bell has donated 20 percent of proceeds from his BBQ sauces and other products to two children’s nonprofit organizations, No Kid Hungry and the Rafiki Foundation.
Bell continues to expand his Stateline BBQ line, his latest offering being the 816 Black Truffle BBQ Sauce in honor of the Kansas City Chiefs’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (although Raiders and 49ers fans didn’t hear that from us).
Bell is obviously very much rooted in Missouri. The Stateline Road BBQ moniker is derived from the major thoroughfare that divides Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, and the 816 from his BBQ sauce line is also the area code for his native KC.
The inspiration might be Kansas City, which is, of course, world-famous for its BBQ, but many of the ingredients in Bell’s products are from the chef’s adopted home of California, including Central Valley tomatoes and Gilroy garlic. His original sauce 816 BBQ Sauce provides the right amount of sweetness, heat and piquant that reveals itself on the palate like a fine wine.
Renowned chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller put it on his menus on all Seabourn luxury cruise ships. Chef Daniel Boulud called it, “Beautiful, with lots of beautiful spices.”
Recent additions to the Stateline Road BBQ line include a dry rub and a brine kit, and more products, including fermented powders, are on the way.
The products are available on the stateline-road.com website and will be carried by all Northern California Whole Food stores starting in the spring of 2022.
Chef Bell’s impressive resume includes stops at Benson’s Steak and Chophouse in Kansas City, Alinea in Chicago, Etoile Restaurant and Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, Foundry & Lux in South San Francisco and restaurants in France.
Photos: Jimmy Hayes