White River Junction’s old Freight House houses a wine bar (Elixir), live music at Tupelo Music hall and enormous piles of rock salt (inside Barrett Salt). Soon, a plume of brisket smoke will waft from its roof.
This winter, Big Fatty’s BBQ will move from its longtime storefront in Hartford village to the historic building in downtown White River, where staff will open a rustic café.
General manager Brandon Fox says Big Fatty’s crew has been feeling the space squeeze as its catering arm, Maple Street Catering, becomes busier. “We’ve been maxed to capacity the last few years,” says Fox. “This is going to double our size.”
Not only the size of the catering operation but that of the dining side. Fox says Big Fatty’s will morph from primarily a takeout joint to a 40-seat casual restaurant with a “farmhouse-barn-type” vibe. It will have farmhouse tables (with an eight-foot communal table running through the center), four beer taps, flat-screen televisions and a smoker right in the restaurant.
Food-wise, Big Fatty’s menu will reach beyond its usual pulled pork and brisket to encompass “creative comfort food” apps such as burgers, sliders and — a salad bar?
“If you’ve had a heavy lunch, you might want something lighter [than BBQ]. So we’re adding a salad bar,” says Fox. It will feature rotating meats, salads and desserts drawn from whatever the caterers are cooking that day — from broccoli salad with peanuts and bacon to apple cobbler.
Big Fatty’s will hire extra staff for the new spot, which will serve lunch and dinner six days a week, plus a few late nights timed to coincide with Tupelo events such as Club 188, a weekly dance club.
Guests can start basking in the aromas of Big Fatty’s smoker by mid-December. Come spring, they’ll be able to tuck into sliders on the patio, too — a few outdoor tables are in the works.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Bringin' the Brisket"