Sixth Street Bodacious Bar-B-Q owner Shannon Fell took an important step this week toward her reopening on Wednesday.
She fired up Betty.
That’s the name she’s given to one of the three barbecue pits housed at the back of her restaurant in a newly enlarged pit room that makes it possible for her to add wood to the three pits without having to walk outside. It’s a change she made while renovating her restaurant after a Sept. 19 fire shut down the business.
The restaurant at 904 N. Sixth St. reopens at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, with normal operating hours of 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Fell said barbecue pits are often named for women.
“They’re cantankerous,” she said, laughing.
The oldest rotisserie pit is name Betty, she said, while the younger rotisserie pit is named Veronica. The third barbecue pit isn’t named.
She said she doesn’t use the title pitmaster at her restaurant — there’s no official certification for that job, but she’s been cooking at the restaurant for 35 years.
“I don’t know if you ever master it,” she said.
The fire started in the ceiling in the pit room and spread into the kitchen. She had the three pits, which have been at the restaurant for decades, rebuilt.
Despite efforts to cover holes in the roof after the fire, water still got into the restaurant when it rained for three days after the fire, Fell said. The floor in the dining room buckled, so there’s a new floor that’s one level instead of two. The dining room also features new booths, chairs and lighting and other cosmetic updates.
Fell started working at the restaurant in 1984 and became the owner in 1993.
She said she’s missed her customers, many of whom have stopped by to check out the restaurant’s progress toward reopening.
Fell expects she’ll be busy Wednesday.
“We’ve had a lot of phone calls,” and Facebook messages from people asking when the restaurant would open, she said.