Fox & Fire was open at Callsign for just one year. In July, Fox packed up and drove to a new parking lot at 102 W. Lawrence Street in Kearney. If you make the drive, you’ll find the clementine-orange truck hooked up to a small brick building big enough for, say, the desk of one used car salesman and a bathroom. (As it happens, this address was formerly a used car lot.)
Fox purchased this real estate – which includes a handful of surrounding green acres – in June 2021. I visit him in August, and he’s only open here and there while he prepares to launch at this permanent location. There is a cluster of picnic tables outside the truck that will soon have umbrellas. Eventually, there will be shaded three-seasons seating, and the grass nearby will boast outdoor yard games. Fox is figuring out how to get beer and wine on the menu (he’d like to offer Callsign).
Already, he says, there is more chatter – more excitement – for his business from Kearney locals than he ever saw in Kansas City. He seems alarmed by this. Given that Kansas Citians were enthusiastically devoted to his barbecue, I can understand why.
Forty minutes after I leave Fox in Kearney, I unwrap the brisket. Too often, I see brisket sliced as thin as deli-counter roast beef – I was born in Texas, into a family of multigenerational Texans, so this is not to my taste. But as I looked at the glistening hunk on my table, each hefty piece boasting peppery crust and a thread of fat and pink meat, I recalled Fox’s careful half-inch incisions. Very promising, indeed.