Fairfield grad opens new barbecue restaurant at former Symmes Tavern

A Fairfield High School graduate has opened a new Butler County restaurant that offers “low and slow” wood-smoked barbecue.

The cuisine at Butt Shack BBQ & Grill, 500 Wessel Drive, is “our twist on traditional barbecue,” said owner Andy Castle, a 1995 Fairfield High School graduate.

The restaurant replaces Symmes Tavern on the Green, which closed in September after more than 13 years there.

Butt Shack BBQ & Grill got its start in Hamilton County’s New Baltimore in 2012, then moved to Greenhills in 2013, Castle said. The restaurant takes its name from the shoulder of a pig, referred to as Boston butt or pork butt.

“What better way to honor the long-standing tradition of low-and-slow smoked barbecue than to name our place after the best cut of the meat?” Castle said.

With the eatery’s lease in Greenhills expiring, Castle opted to take move his business to the 4,700-square-foot Fairfield storefront, which nearly tripled its space and gave it two patios instead of one.

“We always said if we were going to move again, we’d come back to our hometown,” he said. “A lot of it was luck. We were contacted by someone who let us know that Symmes was becoming available and, after a few months of going back and forth, we struck a deal.”

The restaurant has hired 65 people to accommodate increased demand, Castle said.

“You can almost consider it an American grill with barbecue,” Castle said. “It’s kind of like a melting pot of all things good.”

The menu boasts more than a dozen “shareables,” from smoked jalapeno poppers, smokehouse nachos and fried shrimp to poutine, goetta fries and Jack the Ripper, which consists of bacon-wrapped, deep-fried hot dogs with jalapeños, habanero sauce and shredded cheese on a bun.

There are also salads, burgers, sandwiches, jumbo wings, pizza, wraps and Shack’s Way, a wood-smoked sausage topped with pulled pork, coleslaw and a choice of barbecue sauce in a hoagie.

Guests also can opt to order carnivorous favorites by the quarter-slab, half slab or full slab, including baby back ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken or beef brisket. Chicken is available in varying cuts and rib tips are sold by the pound.

Seasonal specials are also available, including corned beef and cabbage around St. Patrick’s Day and traditional German-based dishes like bratwurst, sauerkraut balls and potato pancakes for Oktoberfest

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