MIDDLETOWN — Two years ago, Brent Dalton, owner of a popular food truck known for its barbecue selection, announced he was expanding and opening a restaurant.
There have been numerous delays, including those caused by the coronavirus, but Dalton’s dream will become a reality Saturday morning when he opens his first restaurant, Brent’s Smokin’ Butts and Grill, 1206 Central Ave.
Dalton gave a nervous laugh when asked about opening a restaurant at a time when others are closing due to the lack of business caused by COVD-19.
“I love to cook,” he explained. “That’s my passion. It’s a ton of work, but if you really enjoy something, it’s not work. If that’s where your passion lies, it doesn’t feel like work.”
He has owned and operated a food truck under the same name for five years, and after losing all the outdoor events this year due to the coronavirus, he’s excited about opening a sit-down restaurant.
He will continue operating his food truck and plans to use his full kitchen to prepare the food and “feed” the truck at large summer festivals. Since food trucks typically are parked during the cold months, Dalton said the restaurant will afford him the opportunity to stay open year-round.
Dalton said when he first looked at the Central Avenue property, he turned it down, saying it was too small for what he needed. But after working with and being convinced by developer Scott Lewis, owner of the property, Dalton said the location is “absolutely beautiful.”
The restaurant has a seating capacity of 48, but after separating the tables to comply with COVID health guidelines, it seats 36, he said. That’s “plenty of room” and he also hopes to add an outdoor patio, Dalton said.
He wants to be part of the downtown revitalization that has recently seen the opening of several business including Charlie & Will Provisions, Fast Lane Subs, Aquatics and More and Annie Up Boutique.
“This is home and you always want to take care of your hometown,” said Dalton, 44, a 1994 Middletown High School graduate. “The city has been phenomenal and easy to work with.”
Brent’s is a family business, he said. His wife, Kelly, and children — Brady, 24, Isabel, 19, and Ava, 15 — will work there along with friends from Breiel Boulevard Church of God.
HOW TO GO
WHAT: Brent’s Smokin’ Butts and Gill
WHERE: 1206 Central Ave., Middletown
MENU: Pulled pork, ribs, smoked brisket, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, soft drinks.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
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