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Barbecue beef and a tuneup

August 11, 2001

Molly Shore

NORTHWEST DISTRICT -- When Damian Shapiro gets a yen for good

barbecue, he heads to Acme Autoworks at 738 N. Victory Blvd..

No, it's not a trendy new theme restaurant. It's an honest to goodness

auto repair shop.

Lucky for Shapiro, Acme shop owner Bob Krauss, who once owned 10

Vincenzos pizza parlors in the San Fernando Valley and Newhall, just

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can't seem to get cooking out of his system. So, once a week at the shop,

he treats his family and employees to what Shapiro swears is the best

barbecue west of Kansas City.

Shapiro, 28, a film editor who works in the Valley, stumbled onto the

barbecue when he brought his car in for service.

Smelling something deliciously like barbecue, Shapiro says his first

thought was, "Is this some kind of equipment I don't know about?"

Nosing around outside, he found Krauss preparing the midday meal.

"I kind of forced my way into the party," says Shapiro between bites

of succulent tri-tip beef. "I've been showing up for two months. Every

time he makes barbecue, I'm here."

Ask Krauss the secret to his lip-smacking good barbecue and he says,

"You gotta cook with wood or charcoal, and you gotta cook it long."

Barbecuing is for a patient person, he says. "Take a tough piece of meat,

and make it tender -- that's the challenge."

To enhance the flavorful meats, Krauss has created Acme barbecue

sauce.

"It's the only sauce you'll ever need," he says. "You can use it on

everything but ice cream. You can even use it in Bloody Marys."

Side dishes accompanying Krauss' barbecue are homemade coleslaw and

Grandma Penny's cold baked beans flavored with sausage, both made by his

wife, Pamela Taylor.

"I'm Grandma Penny," proclaims Taylor, a stately blond. She says she

was tagged with this moniker when one of her granddaughters couldn't

quite manage "Grammy Pammy."

"I was Vincenzo," says Krauss. "Now, I'm Smokin' Kansas City Jack."

He's not kidding around, either. Krauss has plans to open his Smokin'

Kansas City Jack Restaurant at the Acme shop site, and offer takeout

service. "And if it doesn't go, we'll eat it."

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