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New BBQ Restaurant Opening In Lawrenceburg; Gets $80K Grant From City

Posted On August 31, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A newly opened restaurant is bringing the taste of smoked meat and barbecue to Lawrenceburg.

Hickory House BBQ will mark its grand opening at the JTS Plaza on U.S. 50 on Friday, September 1.

Owner Suzi Randall says the business offers dine-in and carry-out. In addition to ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, the barbecue restaurant would offer wings and sandwiches on its menu.

The leased restaurant space contains a party and meeting room, which can be rented to include a lunch or dinner buffet.

Randall, daughter of former Indiana State Senator Johnny Nugent, and co-owner Kevin Anderson recently approached the Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission on August 14 to request $102,000 to help finish the restaurant project. The owners explained that they have put $57,000 of their own money toward opening the restaurant. They owe $81,000 to vendors and must still purchase $22,000 of equipment.

Redevelopment commission president Tony Abbott voiced concerns about whether the grant money would be attached to equipment or a building. If the money was used for equipment, the commission could not seize it as it would belong to the building owner.

The new restaurant will create a handful of jobs. Randall said the business has hired a day cook, three full time servers, and three part-time servers. There are plans to hire more employees as the business grows.

“The dilemma is clear for us,” said commission member Dennis Hutchins. “Redevelopment in its history has been burned by restaurants.”

Hutchins, however, referred to the commission’s past decision to aid Strong’s Pizza with a $49,000 grant in 2016. But that business had two other established locations and the grant money could be attached to some of the pizzeria’s equipment, he noted. Strong’s Pizza remains open for business and is consistently busy.

After some further discussion, the Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission voted to approve an $80,000 grant for Hickory House BBQ.

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