Hank’s Texas BBQ Now Open in Clintonville
A new barbecue joint is bringing a taste of Texas to Clintonville. Hank’s Texas BBQ opened its doors last month at 2941 N. High St., the former home of Old Skool.
For the uninitiated, Texas barbecue is all about the brisket says Owner Brad Harkrider. Memphis and St. Louis have ribs, East Coast goes pulled pork to whole hog, but Texas goes beef.
Harkrider outlines the perfect Hank’s order: the fattier side of the brisket with pickled vegetables and white BBQ sauce. It’s just one option on a menu that includes pulled pork, sausage, ribs and smoked chicken. The chicken – brined, smoked then braised – is another highlight says Harkrider.
Diners will find a classic lineup of barbecue sides like mac & cheese, spoon corn bread, burnt end baked beans, collard greens, vinegar slaw and more, as well as sandwiches and plenty of appetizers to get the party started. Fried Green Tomatoes, Poutine, Rib Tips, Corn Cakes and Candied Bacon are just some of the options in the starters department.
To wash it all down, there’s the full gamut of beer, wine and liquor, including a growing selection of bourbon.
While Harkrider has plenty of experience in the industry, barbecue had been more of a recreational hobby slash family gathering dining experience before Hank’s.
The long-time chef at J Liu, Asian-fusion cuisine just didn’t present a lot of opportunities to barbecue. (Though Harkrider did score a smoker he incorporated into some special dishes.)
During his time at the fine dining restaurant, Harkrider says he wore a lot of hats, taking on roles inside and outside of the kitchen. He felt an ownership of the restaurant without actually being an owner. Looking for more of an ownership capacity, Harkrider and J Liu Owner Jason Liu purchased a restaurant together in Mansfield, operating it for three years before selling in August 2020 due to COVID.
The pandemic threw a few other twists, and opportunities, Harkrider’s way. The chef initially announced his intentions to leave J Liu and pursue his own thing on February 15, 2020. Harkrider and his brother were going to revive campus institution The Blue Danube. The deal was supposed to close March 20, 2020. One week before, the world shut down. Plans were ruined.
But then there was an opportunity. A catering deal with Rogue Fitness to provide lunch for their 1,400 plus employees during the height of the pandemic provided the capital needed to start Hank’s Texas BBQ.
Harkrider has always had a love for the process that is barbecue – for taking a cut of meat that might not be the fanciest, cooking it for an extended period of time, and ending up with something ten times better.
He says Columbus has a good barbecue scene, but it’s not like Texas where smoked meats are everywhere. Harkrider also wants Hank’s to fill the gap of a more sit-down, full-service barbecue dining experience.
The Old Skool space in Clintonville checked a lot of boxes. Harkrider was aiming for something smaller – the space clocks in at 2,400 square feet with kitchen – and he liked the open-air patio vibe the restaurant’s large garage doors provide, especially coming out of the pandemic.
He also likes that the Clintonville community is a strong supporter of local businesses.
Hank’s Texas BBQ is open from 3 – 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday hours are 3 – 11 p.m. Diners can get their BBQ fix through dine-in, online ordering and delivery.
Once the restaurant gets its feet under it, Harkrider also plans to open for brunch, serving up dishes like brisket tacos, French toast, eggs benedict and more.
For more information, visit hankstexasstylebbq.com.
All photos by Susan Post