They’re grilling and chilling at new Middleboro barbecue restaurant

Sep 2, 2023

MIDDLEBORO — Northerners appreciate a good barbecue, y’all.

The crowds that have been packing Middleboro’s new barbecue restaurant would seem to prove that the tangy flavors have a broad appeal well beyond geographical borders.

Dave’s BBQ Bar recently opened on 390 West Grove St. The menu features a blend of barbecue and Tex-Mex style items.

“You don’t have to be in Texas or North Carolina’’ to indulge in barbecue, owner David Fisher said. “We’ve got our own barbecue place right here in Middleboro.’’

The eatery may be new but the location, owner and staff are familiar to Middleboro restaurant-goers. 

The restaurant is located outdoors on the grounds of Dave’s Diner. Fisher owns both restaurants, as well as Harry’s Bar and Grille across the street. 

Many of the same staff members who work at the diner then move a few yards over to the barbecue restaurant when the diner closes and the barbecue place opens.

The hours of the side-by-side establishments coincide almost perfectly. The diner is open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The barbecue restaurant is open 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The new venture came about, indirectly, as the result of Covid. The pandemic hit the diner hard, he said. Many of its most frequent customers _ senior citizens and families with children _ were especially vulnerable to the illness and didn’t visit the diner as often, Fisher said. The diner’s hours were subsequently cut down. 

Another impact of Covid: Outdoor dining became popular. So when Fisher decided to start a new venture, he decided to try “something different, more open air.’’ After all, he said, he had the land, since the new eatery was built on the same property as the diner.

The barbecue theme also reflects the town’s and his family’s rural roots. Fisher grew up on a dairy farm that was operated by his parents, who died recently.

The concept is a way “to honor them,’’ he said. A John Deere tractor and statues of cows, pigs and chickens decorate the land around the restaurant.

“It reminds me a little bit of my childhood,’’ said Fisher, who is a lifelong Middleboro resident and a graduate of Middleboro High School Class of 1979.

The restaurant also features “another twist.’’ Although servers take drink orders and oversee their assigned tables, diners pick up their own food from a trailer on site, where the kitchen is located. 

“That way we can cover more ground with less people,’’ Fisher said. “That’s kind of how the business is going because there’s less people’’ to staff businesses. 

With the help of moveable glass doors and space heaters, he hopes he can keep the restaurant operating through December and re-open around St. Patrick’s Day.

He credited “a lot of great people’’ with the initial success of his barbecue bar. Sandy Pacheco, general manager at Dave’s Diner, and Nancy Clifford, who holds the same position at Harry’s, have been wearing “two hats,’’ he said.  He also credited “pitmaster’’ Jack Spinetto, who oversees the grilling.

He thanked his wife Dina Fisher and their daughters Colby and Kendall for their support.

Every staff member plays a key role, he said, which is why the staff pool their tips. Wait staff would not be successful without kitchen help coming through, he said, “Everybody shares in the benefit of good food and service,’’ he said.

So far, the establishment, which features a full bar and specialty frozen drinks, has received a hearty welcome from diners, he said.

“It’s been a busy first two weeks,’’ he said. “It’s been a great response.’’