Dosey Doe: The Best Music Venue
There it was, of all places, in the back country of Kentucky, a big beautiful barn with hand-hewn old growth oak and birch beams. After searching all over Texas, Stephen Said, coffee lover and entrepreneur, bought the 165-year-old historical barn, disassembled it, and shipped it to The Woodlands, Texas. This was just the beginning of what would become the infamous Dosey Doe Big Barn that offers patrons Southern-style dining and a live music venue.
In an interview with Woodlands Online’s “Faces of the Woodlands,” Said explained, “I was not too excited about how coffee shops were pretty sterile in their looks, all steel and Teflon. I just felt like Texans wanted something that felt like Texas. So ‘coffee,’ ‘Texas’ – I came up with the idea of having it in an actual barn as the dining hall.
A Texas native, Said is the son of a U.S. naturalized Lebanese businessman and Dallas homemaker. His family heritage comprised of Christian faith and successful business ventures in Lebanon and Iraq. But when King Faisal and son were overthrown by a faction of the military, Christian assets were seized. Suddenly destitute, Said’s father was a Texas college student at the time and had to find work, any work, to support his expecting wife. His father was very “old school” and Said was raised to understand that OPPORTUNITY was not to be taken for granted.
After graduating from North Texas State University, Said’s opportunity came via rendering aid to a stranded motorist named Eric, an English machine technician travelling around the country introducing a currency counting machine. Six months later, Eric contacted him desperate for help selling a better counter machine from a Japanese company. Said launched in wholeheartedly and business grew better than anticipated. He gained more territory, expanded his wares, and elevated his position, while operating his own dealership that continued to maintain itself servicing many products. With assets in the bank and in property there was no need to seek other income. Time was on his hands and with a brand new marriage, it looked like a life of semiretirement and travel.
A New Adventure & Fair Trade
Said had property at a prime location along a major interstate north of Houston. He came to a point to either make use of the property or sell it. After researching business possibilities, he found his next passion… coffee.
“I loved really good coffee but rarely experience an exceptional cup. After attending a few classes in Long Beach, California, I discovered what I hope everyone experiences at least once in their life… ‘Hey, I’m really good at that.’ I had a nose and palate that was built to understand coffee,” he says.
He continued classes and garnered the status of GOLD CUP, the highest certification awarded by the Specialty Coffee Association. In 2005, before roasting his first bag, his new company, Dosey Doe Coffee, became noteworthy as he had determined that a previously unrecognized area in El Salvador had some of the best coffee in the world. He says, “It was an opportunity that I was prepared to bet my new company on as I purchased all of the coffee in that region. It was my first purchase while construction had just started on the coffee shop.”
In El Salvador, Said found opportunity for the coffee farmers and processors. He purchased a truck, contracted with a farmer to represent his company, and purchased all the coffee in the region for 30% more than they had ever been paid before… and they no longer had to transport the 150 lb. bags of coffee down the mountains by burro. He then negotiated with the processor for the entire region as opposed to one farmer, one or two bags at a time and the product was delivered in bulk by truck.
“What we saved with the processor made up for what we paid the farmers. Everyone was happy in this ultimate example of free trade,” he says. Soon after, other coffee buyers including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts discovered the region and were surprised to find that it all had been contracted by a company they never heard of.
The Great Bait and Switch
As the barn construction was underway, echoes of his past experience with music stirred. Back in the 90s, Said had a side career as a lyricist for alternative rock-n-roll and country artists. Having spent a great deal of time in recording studios, he learned a lot about acoustics. He thought that the barn with all that dense wood might be ideal for music. He brought in two independent sound engineers to guide him in what was needed to make the barn all it could be for music.
The barn was growing from a coffee shop to a music room with a bar and a kitchen. Said’s wife calls it the “Great Bait & Switch.” When construction was completed, both engineers felt that the barn may be one of the best rooms for music that they had ever worked with.
The menu expanded and eventually turned into a mostly dinner show event. “In the beginning we thought we would have local artists, maybe some regional Texas artists.” As to why they come, he says, “great acoustics, a very cool room, wonderful food all served with true Texas hospitality.”
Before long, he started booking star performers like B.J. Thomas. Twelve years later, Dosey Doe has international superstars on its stage regularly and is recognized as one of the best listening halls in the country.
In Demand and Giving Back
Dosey Doe Big Barn has a substantial menu and is famous for its huge servings of chicken fried steak and 16-hour smoked barbecue brisket. Their barbecue menu became so popular, Said had to open another restaurant to keep up with the demand. The Dosey Doe Breakfast & BBQ, lovingly referred to as DDBBBQ, serves barbecue as its main product and produces enough to serve both locations. Said also has an additional location, Alden Bridge Coffee Shop, serving hot breakfasts and lunches.
The Big Barn, Said’s centerpiece, offers dinner and live music four to five nights a week. Special events are held such as the Real Life Real Music weekly radio program recorded live, wedding receptions, corporate events, private parties, and charitable causes fill up the calendar.
Running the Dosey Doe empire is a family affair. Coffee is roasted almost daily as they sell 4,000-5,000 lbs. every week. His son, Brad, a beekeeper, harvests and jars their own honey. Said describes his wife as “the greatest special events planner in the world.”
Said and his wife are both extremely proud of their contribution to their community raising over $10,000,000 for charities. As for himself, he says, “I truly do have the best job in the world. Being able to see opportunity is the greatest gift I have ever received.”
Patrons line up daily to get the full Texas treatment at Dosey Doe where everyone is greeted with a hearty “howdy” and everything on the menu is just bigger and better. Learn more by visiting their website at www.doseydoe.com.