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June 19, 2014 - 6:58pm

Owners of the Rack Shack confident you'll go out of your way for their BBQ

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, the Rack Shack.

How far would you drive for really good BBQ? Yesterday, somebody reportedly drove 70 miles to try out Batavia's newest BBQ joint -- The Rack Shack, on Ellicott Street Road.

Open just a week and with little fanfare, the owners of the new restaurant are finding their location just a bit outside the city is well suited to the business they want to build.

"The location presented itself and we thought it was a good opportunity," said co-owner Mandee Hopkins.

The location was most recently Rosie's Diner. Rosie's nor the prior diner, Fedora's, really worked out for those owners. But Hopkins said she and her partners like the location because of the high volume of traffic on Route 63, the fact that the east side of Batavia -- with the ag park -- is growing, and they are confident good BBQ will make the restaurant a destination for smoked pork and beef aficionados.

The co-owners are her husband Jason, who has 25 years experience in the restaurant business, including working as head chef at the Hillside Inn and sous chef at the Valley Inn, and Jim and Melissa Penders. Jim is an award-winning BBQer who has worked in catering for 15 years.

"BBQ is what they love," Mandee said. "It's what they love to eat. It's what they love to cook, and it's a skill that needs to be mastered."

Mastered it, they have. The menu boasts that the pork ribs are so tender they melt off the bone. They'll never be accused of false advertising on that point.

The menu is filled with Southern flavor, from cole slaw to collard greens to cajun catfish along with WNY favorites such as salt potatoes, Pittsburgh salad, and their own version of the garbage plate, called the Shack Attack.

"We want to offer a warm, comfortable atmosphere where people can enjoy their food," Mandee said. "We believe in high standards and treating people like family."

Raelene Christian
Raelene Christian's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 20 2008 - 11:53am

Just a clarification on "your" article Howard. You may want to check your facts ALWAYS before writing your stories. My mother, Rose Mary Christian was in business for 23 years when Rosie's Diner was previously the "Bee-Hive Too Restaurant". When she closed down the Bee-Hive and reopened "Rosie's Diner", in April of 2012, she was forced to close due to having a heart attack in May of 2013. Just saying, check your facts next time.

To the new Owners of the Rack Shack~Congrats to you ALL! Good luck and many wishes for great sucess with your new business. My mom was blessed for years.

Billie Owens
Billie Owens's picture
Last seen: 3 days 4 hours ago
Joined: Mar 23 2009 - 1:22pm

The fresh cooked greens are fantabulous, meal-worthy in and of themselves, with pork pieces and spices just right. Not over-cooked. I sprinkle some rice vinegar with red peppers on them at home, like any decent Tar Heel, and them's good eatin.'

Bob Harker
Bob Harker's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Aug 20 2009 - 3:12pm

Best of luck to you, and we'll see you very soon.

John Woodworth JR
John Woodworth JR's picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: May 28 2009 - 11:13am

Amazing Raelene, that you have first hand knowledge of the situation yet you received thumbs down for correcting information that was not factual.

BTW, Rack Shack is my next destination to try. It looks good and Billie I will definitely try the greens.

Bea McManis
Bea McManis's picture
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: May 4 2009 - 9:20pm

Raelene, your post was spot on. Your mom did a great job for a long time. I wish the new owners the best. If they follow mom's lead and greet everyone like family they can't go wrong. Already making plans to go.

Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Last seen: 3 days 45 min ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

I agree Raelene also your post was spot on..Rose Mary did a great job for a very long time..I was surprised with the thumbs down on your comment....

Frank Penna Jr
Frank Penna Jr's picture
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: May 17 2009 - 5:47pm

Great place! I went to the Rack Shack tuesday night after my grandson's ball game was rained out. I ordered the beef brisket with onion rings and applesauce. They were busy but my order was out quickly. Just as the menu boasted, my plate had a lb of brisket with hand cut home made onion rings. The meal was very good and more than I could finish ... great service too. Best wishes to the owners of the
rack Shack.

Debra Nanni
Debra Nanni's picture
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Feb 4 2009 - 11:16am

I must be missing something here. "Didn't work out" can cover a LARGE number of reasons. It doesn't mean you FAILED ! I owned my own business and closed it voluntarily , but I ALWAYS tell people it "didn't work out", mainly because it is no one's business, and that is sort of a broad term for alot of different things. When I read the article all I took from it regarding the prior business was that it was no longer there, and it was none of my concern as to why it ever closed........

As for the new owners I wish them all the best! I have always thought that was a great little building and a nice area for a restaurant to sit. It's out in the country, but close enough to town to attract business. Sounds like they have alot of good ideas and it seems well thought out. Best of luck!

Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Last seen: 23 hours 46 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm

Bingo, Debra.

William Millen
William Millen's picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: Aug 10 2009 - 12:19pm

Does anyone know the days and hours of operation? I would like to give it a try, but don't want to drive to the other side of town to find out this place is closed. Was planning on trying another new restaurant in town only to find out it was only open a few hours during the lunch hour.

Sean McKellar
Sean McKellar's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Jan 24 2009 - 5:05pm

I just ate lunch here, and it was really tasty.

I couldn't help but to notice a couple things. I didn't smell any wood smoke around the place. And I didn't see a pile of split hickory logs to feed the smoker. And most importantly, I didn't taste any smoke at all in my ribs. And they didn't have the pink smoke ring that's characteristic of good ribs.

The ribs are really good, but I wouldn't call them BBQ. They remind me of Alex's. Really tasty and tender but most decidedly not pit BBQ. It's like they're steamed and the thrown on a grill for a minute.

I'm not trying to disparage the place at all. Without smoke, it's just not BBQ.

Mardell Lamb
Mardell Lamb's picture
Last seen: 3 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: Apr 22 2009 - 8:07am

This is from their web sight.

Hours of Operation

Mon-Thurs: 6-9pm

Fri & Sat: 6-10pm

Sun: Closed

Is it 6:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m.?

Peter O'Brien
Peter O'Brien's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Mar 4 2009 - 1:24pm

Thumbs down because Raelene came off as snarky and mean towards Howard/

Justin Burger
Justin Burger's picture
Last seen: 3 days 5 hours ago
Joined: Sep 14 2008 - 11:23pm

We ate there today, and everything was fantastic! I was happily surprised to see how busy it was! I had the combo plate with Ribs, Pulled Pork, Smoked Turkey, Coleslaw, and Fries....everything was tasty. I brought home an order of collard greens for my mom to try, we both agreed with Billie, they were very good.

Roberta White
Roberta White's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2013 - 4:25pm

I just ate there tonight and it was the best food I ever ate. Delicious! A simple response would have sufficed. There is a difference between correcting information and making yourself look like an idiot in front of the entire community. Raelene... pull your head out of your butt and learn how to be nice to other people. Mistakes are often made and they are made by everyone. They say that the damage you inflict upon others is a reflection of how you feel on the inside.

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