INITIAL STORY: June 14, 2018
A popular Hamilton restaurant is opening a second location on the city’s west side.
Neal’s Famous BBQ’s newest location — Neal’s Grab ‘N’ Go — is set to open in mid-July at 997 Eaton Ave. as a complement to the full dine-in barbecue experience available at 202 N. 3rd St. on the city’s east side, according to owner Mike Neal.
“We have a lot of west side customers … so what we’re saying is ‘Hey, let’s bring a Neal’s to them as well,” he said.
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The second location is in a building that once housed Flub’s Dari-ette ice cream shop
Customers will be able to walk up to the new business, place their order and either leave with their food in hand or sit at picnic tables on the restaurant’s concrete patio.
Available for purchase will be all of Neal’s signature sandwiches, including pulled pork, pulled chicken, Neal burgers, rib tips, rib sandwiches and beef brisket, plus hot dogs and metts.
Coleslaw, chips and soft drinks will be available Thursdays through Sundays. Sunday dinners will offer a wider variety of side dishes, including coleslaw, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, Southern style baked beans and mixed greens.
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The new location will offer for sale all eight varieties of Neal’s BBQ Sauce, including a new Watermelon BBQ flavor.
Neal said it means a lot to him as a business owner for the past 17 years to be able to open a second location and grow with Hamilton.
“As the city expands, we all expand. That’s what makes it sweet,” he said. “We just want to give the best that we have to offer to our city.”
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, to 802 S. Fourth St. in 2009, and then made its home on the corner of North Third and Dayton streets in 2014.
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He said it was last summer when Flub’s owner Brian Connaughton told him the property was available for lease.
“I’d been looking for a way to collaborate with other businesses in Hamilton and me and Brian … we came up with ‘how about having Neal’s as a grab and go on the west side and then you leave here and go get Flub’s famous ice cream,” he said. “I thought that was a great collaboration of local businesses working together.”
Connaughton, who is paying for a new Neal’s sign to replace the former Flub’s sign, said it’s well worth the expense to help out a fellow business owner. The two men have know each other since their youth, stretching back to when Connaughton’s late father, Mike, taught Neal’s older siblings at school.
“It’s a family thing … a long-term relationship,” Neal said.
Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. For more information, including hiring opportunities, call 513-737-2783.