David Calkins was cooking at J. Paul's in Georgetown and Lee Howard was managing the nearby Old Glory barbecue restaurant when they decided to strike out on their own in December. As Calkins sums up their motive, "We got tired of making everybody else rich."
These days, the two friends just want to make everybody who visits their tiny Urban Bar-B-Que Company in Rockville fat and happy. Or so it appears. The fun starts at the counter, where the jolly Howard tosses out suggestions along with a big hello, and continues with commentary from the dashing Calkins, who is not quite behind the scenes in the open kitchen (which, unlike the space for diners, is so big it accommodates a mini-basketball court for the cook's children). "We make everything ourselves," Calkins tells a first-time visitor scanning the chalkboard of possibilities. "Everything except for the hamburger buns and the corn dogs."