New Location 10706 W Manslick Rd. Fairdale, KY 40118
Shack in the Back BBQ was a dream that was thought of many, many years ago. I met Mike in 1989 when I moved to KY from Niagara Falls, NY. He was the bellman and I was a waitress at the Radisson hotel. We love to make fun of how each other talked! Mike loved to cook. Grilling and Smoking meats was his favorite. I of course was his taste tester and was his biggest fan! I don’t think that he ever made a single meal that I didn’t like! We dreamt and talked about opening a restaurant one day.
As a side business, Mike owned a pressure washing company. At the time, he mainly washed vehicles for car lots. When times were tough, he would go to the local truck stop and wash the big rigs that came off the highway. He would small talk with the truck drivers and they all seemed to be longing for a home cooked meal. Mike would cook up meals and bring them to the drivers when he washed the trucks. They loved the food. They all said that he should open a restaurant one day!
We talked about it for years. We even planned the menu, designed the building and decorated the interior! One day, Mike and I stopped by the local florist in town to buy a gift for a friend. We saw that the inside of the building was an old log home that was built in 1896. We had a thing for log homes because by this time, the pressure washing business had expanded and we had been restoring log homes for several years. Our story then became… we are going to own a restaurant one day, it’s going to look like this, we are going to serve that and it’s going to be located where the florist is! For years we would drive by and talk about our restaurant. We knew that there would be a smokehouse behind the building and we imagined ourselves serving the Fairdale community.
A few years later, Mike was restoring a home and needed me to bring him some supplies. He introduced me to Mrs. Miller. She was a sweet elderly lady that was well above her 80’s. As I was leaving, I heard her say “Now Mike, don’t forget to wash my shack in the back!” Talk about a light bulb moment! I could hardly contain myself. That was another piece to our puzzle. The name of our restaurant was going to be Shack in the Back BBQ! The only thing we were missing was the actual building. Then one day in April of 2006, Mike drove by “Our restaurant”. He noticed a “For Rent” sign in the window. He could hardly contain himself when he came home. You would have thought he had won the lottery! We signed the papers, we restored the logs back to their original finish and opened the doors on 9/16/06!
It has been a family affair ever since. Mike takes care of the cooking and I take care of the business side of things such as the day to day operations, the staff and inventory. Our daughter still works here part time and our son helps us keep the wood that we smoke our meats with stocked and seasoned. We have employees that have worked here since day one and we are one big family.
Through the years we have expanded to offer full service catering and specializing in weddings. Customers travel from all over to eat our BBQ. We feel that we have played a major part in putting Fairdale, KY on the map! On December 19th, 2018 we were even featured on a National Cooking Show on Food Network Channel called Man, Fire, Food!
With all this success, we were starting to outgrow our little log home location. Ironically, we received news that our landlord was selling the Shack property to the gas station next door. We knew that we did want to leave Fairdale. Luckily, we were able to purchase the Old Forcht Bank Building just on the other side of the round-a-bout. It is the perfect spot located on the corner of Mitchell Hill Rd. and W. Manslick Rd. Mitchell Hill Rd. is the road that leads to the Jefferson Memorial Forest. America’s largest urban forest! There is a newly constructed Greenspace area located directly across the street from us! With our outdoor seating, our guests can enjoy the sounds of the performers while eating our delicious BBQ on a beautiful summer day!
It has been a painstaking 2 years renovating the building. It has been a real challenge with Covid, product shortages, loss of staff and so much more but with our hard work, dedication and amazing contractors and staff, we will finally be opening the new Shack in the Back BBQ on May 14th, 2022. We are so excited and anxious to start this new chapter of our ongoing dream!
“Kentucky’s culinary fame may have been built on bourbon and fried chicken, but the Commonwealth has much to offer the barbecue thrill-seeker.” We’re proud to be included in this compilation of the best Barbecue experiences in Kentucky!
“Gary doesn’t just take someone’s word about a restaurant … he visits them personally. I want to see it and taste it myself, says Gary. How can I recommend it otherwise?” Thanks for visiting us, Gary, and we’re glad you liked it!