A Hamilton restaurant owner had has third location in hand just days before the opening of a second location.
For Mike Neal, owner of Neal’s Famous BBQ at 202 N. Third St., the new Neal’s Grab ‘N’ Go at 997 Eaton Ave. gives him the ability to offer more dining options in the city.
The storefront is strategically located next to Flub’s Ice Cream, providing a dinner-and-dessert dining option to hungry Hamiltonians.
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But Neal said that on March 1, three days before that location’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, he received delivery of his third restaurant, Neals on Wheels, which was built by a custom food truck manufacturer in Fitzgerald, Ga.
“We want to do corporate events, weddings and things of that nature,” he said. “We can actually come to our customers now for private parties.”
Neal said he also plans to bring the truck out to feed first responders dealing with disasters and take one day a month to go out and feed those who are hungry and in need, including those without a home.
Neal’s Grab ‘N’ Go focuses on take-out, but also will offer picnic tables out back in warmer months.
The menu there includes all of Neal Famous BBQ’s signature sandwiches, including pulled chicken, pulled pork, Neal burgers, rib tips, rib sandwiches and beef brisket, plus hot dogs and metts.
Side dishes include cole slaw, chips, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, Southern style baked beans, green beans and mixed greens. Every Saturday, the new location will feature smoked sweet corn on the cob.
It sells all eight varieties of Neal’s BBQ Sauce.
Neal first started selling sandwiches on a corner of East Avenue in 2001 with $10 in his pocket, an old grill, a packet of ribs and three loaves of bread. Neal’s Café moved from the street corner to an ice cream parlor on Ohio 4 later that year, then again to 802 S. Fourth St. in 2009, and to the corner of North Third and Dayton streets in 2014.
Neal, who is thankful to customers and city officials, said his message to young entrepreneurs is “just be patient and your time and season will come.”
Neal said he plans to franchise the Neal’s Grab ‘N’ Go concept along Interstate 75 from Cincinnati to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I turned down an invitation to come to Gatlinburg, Tennessee … because I decided that I just want to continue to stay with my vision,” he said. “The land right now for small restaurants like that is plentiful.”