Celebrating Black History Month: Mattie B's — family, food, and a great story of it all – Osceola News-Gazette

February 27, 2022
There’s a lot you don’t know about Terry Anderson and his Kissimmee catering company and familiar food truck concession, Mattie B’s Just Ribs, a locally African American-owned business.
For starters, ‘Mattie B’ is grandmother, Mattie Bell, from whom he took his cooking inspiration.
Another thing is the name — Anderson doesn’t cook and sell “just ribs”. Catch him on the right day and he’ll have a variety of briskets, sausages, turkey, pork and chicken on the grill of his food truck.
There’s something else … but you won’t find it here. “What’s the secret to his BBQ?” Other than cooking different meats over a variety of kinds of wood, the rest of the playbook of this will be kept to himself.
Anderson’s story as an independent entrepreneur — Mattie B’s won accolades in the 2021 Osceola News-Gazette’s ‘Best Of!’ local awards for Best Catering, Ribs and Food Truck — is years in the making.
Let’s take it back to the beginning. After spending much of his childhood in kitchens baking with his mother and grandmother, he embarked on a military career and spent 30 years in the Air Force.
“In the service I cooked a lot, especially when the families of my commandmates visited,” he said. “And made a point to try food from wherever we served to learn about it from all other places.”
Retirement from the service brought new horizons. Anderson attended culinary school in Tampa, also earned a Human Resources degree, put a home-based travel business in place and became a mobile notary.
Just that doesn’t even sound like typical retirement. But the pull to cook was the hardest tug, and Mattie B’s was born.
“I started under a canopy at events, and I thought about a restaurant,” he said. “But I didn’t want to limit myself to a single location. So once I made a name, I got the truck.”
But the timing was a little off — blame COVID-19, as he acquired the truck early in 2020.
“Opening during COVID was tough, abiding by every area’s different rules,” said Anderson, who lives in Polk County but operates Mattie B’s out of Kissimmee. “I was scared at first about the reception we’d get. But as 2020 went on, people were more receptive to being outside and away from crowds.”
By 2021, Terry and the Mattie B’s truck took off, appearing at events from Tampa to Osceola County. You will have seen the truck at places like Sherwood Forest, Bay Lake Ranch, Meridia and a number of church festivals.
“We had a great 2021, we were able to get to more places,” he said. “In 2022, I hope to have at least one new employee to work the truck, enabling us to serve more locations. It will also give me the time to add some new twists to my menu.”
He makes his own BBQ sauces, which he hopes to soon sell online on Shopify. On location, you’ll next be able to find Anderson and the Mattie B’s truck at Kissimmee Lakefront Park next Friday night (March 4) at Movie in the Park, and again May 1 at the Cuban Festival.
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