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Barnwood reopening with baby back ribs
Long-time Ripon restaurant back in business June 18
Long time Barnwood Restaurant owner John Mangelos announced the sale Wednesday of his business to Don Lee and Ken Hildebrand of The Food Guys catering operating out of Ripon. Lee, left, is the chef and Hildebrand is the operational member of the team. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Baby back ribs, with a special homemade barbecue sauce, is soon to be added to the Barnwood Restaurant’s menu when it reopens for business on June 18. 

Longtime owner John Mangelos sold his three decades old business just this week.

Don Lee and Ken Hildebrand are currently operating “The Food Guys” mobile catering service out of Ripon and plan to keep the Barnwood name on the building as they search for staff members from cooks to hostesses and servers.

Lee has operated the catering service for the last six years with Hildebrand joining him a year ago with a clientele list that runs from brides to corporate entities.

Lee and his wife Sharon – a home health physical therapist – spend time with their three adult children and 10 grandchildren as well as being involved in their church activities where he has directed presentations and has sung in the choir.

Lee also set up a small café at the top of the stairs in the Crossroads Church in Manteca on Moffat Boulevard.  In addition to that he collects cook books.  His passion is cooking.

Hildebrand says he enjoys hiking in and around Yosemite and cycling on 10 to 15 mile jaunts.  He and his wife Traci have two children Micah, 15, and Hannah, 7, who his wife is busy homeschooling.

Hildebrand has a background as general manager for several restaurants in Tulsa, OK, Hayward and Modesto.  A native of Kansas, he moved to San Antonio when he was in junior high school. 

Lee said they want to keep the staples in the menu, but intend to fill it in with ribs, tri-tip, polled pork – the fair traditionally found in Texas type barbecue houses.  They hope to make the restaurant into a blend of Ripon and what the two of them represent.

Lee’s own blend of barbecue sauce will be dry rubbed onto the meat smoked over hickory coals, he said.  Also, the Ripon Rotary Club is being welcomed by the new owners to continue their meetings at the restaurant Wednesday noons.

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