Rollin’ In Shigs
It’s summer in Indiana, where the smell of grilled meat fills the air with a most mouth-watering aroma. Whether you’re a skilled griller, BBQ aficionado or someone who just loves to tuck in on a plate of bones, you’d be hard pressed to find a better local barbecue joint – well, three places – than Shigs in Pit.
In less than a decade, Jeff Neel and Todd Grantham, co-owners of Mad Anthony’s, have grown Shigs from one location near downtown to three locations in Fort Wayne: the original on Fairfield Avenue; Shigs in Pit BBQ & Brew on Maplecrest Road; and a second BBQ & Brew on Illinois Road which opened last fall.
What began as an epiphany to enter a local rib competition in 2005 grew to an award-winning team, which included friend Stephan Kelley, that picked up more than a dozen Kansas City Barbecue Society grand championships and six reserve grand championship in six years. Since moving from passionate hobby to intense business, Shigs has twice been voted the city’s Best Caterer and named the state’s best rib restaurant by both Visit Indiana and Food Network.
“Shigs in Pit … which has won countless competition awards over the years, has become a Fort Wayne staple for excellent BBQ,” according to a 2019 story on Foodnetwork.com. “Indiana-raised pork ribs are rubbed with a special blend of seasonings and slow-smoked, St. Louis style, over local wild cherry wood. While ribs are a standout, don’t miss out on homemade side dishes like hot potato casserole, corn spoon bread and Southern green beans.”
And now as we begin to move a bit more freely again, Shigs in Pit’s patios at its BBQ & Brew locations will be the place to be, said Joshua Volz, director of marketing for Mad Anthony.
“The staff is looking forward to being outside and the fresh air,” he said.
Shigs in Pit is family friendly. They even put kid’s meals on a flying disc – we recommend cleaning before tossing – which have become a collector’s item, Volz said.
As a sister to Mad Anthony Brewing, there’s going to be some suds to go along with the barbecue at the Illinois and Maplecrest restaurants.
Along with 23 beers on draft, there is crisp hard cider from Kekionga Cider Co., as well craft root beer and red cream soda. There’s a mug club with $1 off on Wednesdays, while the rest of the week, members can have their mugs filled for less than the regular pint price. Membership includes tasting socials and, yes, at the end of every year, each member gets to take their mug home.
Summer hours (to Labor Day), Sunday-Thursday, 11 am – 9; Friday-Saturday, 11 am – 10. Shigs In Pit BBQ: 2008 Fairfield Avenue, 260.387.5903; Shigs In Pit BBQ & Brew: 6250 Maplecrest Road, 260.222.8802, 8506 Illinois Road, 260.338.4888, shigsinpit.com