Heir to the food business his grandfather started thirty years ago, he’s taken the famed M&M Ribs to new heights in the Boston culinary scene. Meet Geovanni Lambert, the #YoungPhenoms spotlight of the week.
Geovanni Lambert makes a living “slinging ribs from the window of a truck.” And at 26 he’s a son, older brother, father, friend and business owner. A familiar face to many Bostonians, there’s more to the “rib man” than what first meets the eye.
Tall with even chocolate skin, a contagious smile and the build of a football player, he makes serving Southern food for long hours out of a hot, tight space look easy. But that’s just his nature. Cool, calm and collected.
He spends most of his week tucked away in a lot in the neighborhood of Roxbury, MA. The rib truck is shaped like an ice cream truck only it’s grey, a little worn and decorated with “M&M Ribs,” “Big Moe’s Ribs,” and awards for “Boston’s Best” in food from local magazines.
Nevertheless, Geovanni makes the most of his long days. He always has jokes and won’t hesitate to make you one of them if the two of you are close. He knows when to be serious and never sugarcoats anything. His mother Leona Lambert chuckled before describing him as “outgoing, to the point and straightforward…he’ll tell you what’s on his mind,” she says matter-of-factly. His younger sister Aishah adds, “He’s always been a boss. He has a lot of ideas and I can see him being very successful.”
Whether on the grill or serving customers from the truck’s small side window, he makes sure to stop and greet every customer with either dap, kind words, or a smile. Everyone calls him Geo and the familiarity and comfort of the food he makes reflects his personality well. He leaves a long lasting impression and so does his food.
Baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken, barbeque, yams, beef brisket, cornbread, and banana pudding are just some of the items from the delectable M&M Ribs menu. Most come to order racks on racks of ribs. I was told the secret sauce they use was “to die for” from a customer. It’s something Geovanni wants to bottle and sell. “It’s that good,” he says.
Times like these I wish I ate pork.
After 23 years, Geovanni would be the first grandson born to Maurice “Big Moe” Hill, founder of M&M Ribs. One of the highlights of being a business owner is “having and working for something of my own is a lot better, feels like I achieved something,” he adds.
Even with a laundry list of responsibilities he makes satisfying customers’ appetite and experience a top priority. “I go online everyday and read different reviews to see what customers have to say because I want to hear what they think and feel. I also go online just to see what things people are looking for, why they go to other vendors, why they have someone else cater their event,” Geovanni says.
He cares about his customers and it shows.
In the last four action-packed years Geovanni has been in charge he’s learned a thing or two about what it takes to thrive and fail at his craft. Advice he’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners is simple: “Believe in yourself, take time to understand your surroundings, what people like and don’t like and love what you do.”
The rib man describes life as a young professional as “stressful, fun and exciting.” He hopes to pass the torch to his son Malique one day – maybe then all the late nights, early mornings and stress will seem worthwhile.
Geovanni likes going to the bah (bar), tasting different beers and fishing in his free time. Despite his busy schedule the rib man still finds ways to enjoy his youth and always makes time for the things he loves. “Hold on baby,” he says while talking on the phone with his girlfriend when two customers approach. He doesn’t rush to make their orders but moves with precision, as he does with most things, and makes their plates neatly before packaging them to go. He returns to his phone and engages in conversation with Candace like nothing ever happened. I was surprised she hadn’t hung up but she’s familiar with the routine.
He never boasts on his accomplishments, the awards and food competitions both in and out of state M&M Ribs has won, or how much everyone can’t get enough of him and his food. Instead things like spending time with his son, family, girlfriend Candace and “seeing my friends do well” are what make him happiest.
The rib man let’s his works speak for itself. He’s humble and hates letting people down. He has 10 tattoos but admits to being shy. I can’t tell.
At the end of the day Geovanni just wants to be remembered as a dedicated person who was willing to earn everything that he wanted and work hard for everything he had. Most would agree he’s on the right track.
For more information about M&M Ribs and all their locations please visit http://www.mandmribs.com and stay connected by following their happenings on Twitter @TheRibTruck. Inquiries can be sent via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and phone: 617-301-0788.