He shows gratitude toward law enforcement, one chicken leg at a time

By Lou Ponsi

It’s not completely unheard of for a person to get arrested, turn their lives around and then credit the arrest as the catalyst that sparked the turnaround.

Less typical is the person who thanks the arresting officer.

Todd Eves, owner of Out of this World Catering, has not only thanked the Anaheim PD officer who arrested him, he continues to show his gratitude in incredible ways.

On April 2, 1998, Eves was cruising on his motorcycle along Beach Boulevard near Ball Road in Anaheim.

He was headed to a motel to meet a woman, but never made it.

Eves, a methamphetamine addict at the time with several outstanding warrants, was pulled over for speeding by Anaheim PD Officer Paul Christy.

Retired Anaheim PD Officer Paul Christy, left, with Out of this World BBQ Owner Todd Eves. Back in 1998, Christy arrested Eves for substance abuse. Eves credits Christy for helping to turn his life around.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Christy discovered close to an ounce of meth in Eves’ possession and placed him under arrest.

Eves begged Christy to cut him some slack and cut him loose.

“He said ‘Listen, you’re sick,’” Eves recalls. “‘You need help and I’m going to get you that help and if I let you go, I wouldn’t be doing my job.’”

The word “sick” struck a nerve with Eves, who’d been told many things by police but never told he was sick.

“He cuffed me up and took me and in, and at that moment, right there, I knew I would never do dope again,” Eves said. “Something snapped in my head. I haven’t touched dope since that day.”

It gets better.

Eves served 16 months in prison for charges stemming from his arrest by Christy.

During court appearances at West Court, Eves, a butcher who worked for Bristol Farms at the time, became acquainted with Orange County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Dale Mattson, who took a liking to Eves.

“He didn’t fit the normal persona of a meth addict,” Mattson said. “He was really sharp.”

Mattson introduced Eves to OCSD Deputy Gary Tackett, who was heavily involved in barbecue competitions with fellow deputies.

Officer Lorenzo Uribe gives a thumbs up after getting his free lunch.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Eves arranged for Bristol Farms to sponsor the deputy’s barbecue team and became a member of the team himself.

Eves has been in the barbecue business ever since.

“I just introduced him to a little bit,” Tackett said. “Then he took it way beyond that to what it is today. He is the kind of person who is thankful and gives back.”

To show appreciation, Eves returns to the Anaheim PD every five years on the anniversary of his arrest and serves up free barbecue to the entire department.

Eves most recently provided a barbecue feast at Anaheim PD on April 2, commemorating the 20th anniversary of his arrest.

Regina Chavira, left, and Tana Castrogiovanni Eves dish out a thank you barbecue lunch to the Anaheim PD to APD volunteer Tom Turbitt and Cadet Reece Wardel.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“I’m glad we were able to make a difference in someone’s life, and obviously, he is returning the favor,” said APD Det. Phil Vargas, one of dozens of APD employees who chowed down a plate of barbecue chicken, tri-tip and beans. “We appreciate (him) just as much as he appreciates us.”

Meanwhile, Eves and Christy have become close friends.

Christy, who since has retired, has invested in Out of this World barbecue sauce, which Eves recently began selling.

Eves’ company is doing a $500,000-a-year business, catering about 250 events per year.

He regularly caters events related to law enforcement and other public safety agencies, often for free.

APD Det. Michael Lee gets his free barbecue lunch from Out of This World BBQ.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

He catered the funeral for slain Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer on March 3, 2017 without charging a penny.

Said Mattson: “I think every police officer, during their career, is grateful if they get one major success story. For me, Todd is it.”

APD Officer Tony Karg smiles as he receives lunch from Regina Chavira of Out of this World BBQ.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC