Longtime industry veteran but first-time restaurateur Buzz Schuster will be opening a Texas-style barbecue joint dubbed South End Smokehouse in the forthcoming micro food hall at South End Norcross, which is slated to open summer 2024.
“This is my first go at this – I’ve been in barbecue for over five years, I was at Loyal Q and Brew before I came on board at Mojitos – and this is just something I’ve been wanting to do,” Schuster tells What Now Atlanta, “I’ve been wanting to open a restaurant.”
So when his former boss Luis Fernandez of Mojitos purchased the engine building in South End with the intention of opening a micro food hall and offered nearly half of its space to Schuster, he jumped at the opportunity. What’s more, the menu was a no-brainer.
“I enjoy barbecue, so I decided to do a barbecue restaurant,” says Schuster, “and there’s no barbecue in Downtown Norcross, so hopefully we’ll be a staple down there.”
Schuster will be opening the concept with two partners, both of whom are longtime colleagues and friends.
“Kenneth Mann was my old pit master at Loyal Q,” says Schuster. “We’ve known each other for like 25 years. Ken is also a partner in Stage Kitchen and Bar. He was in charge of the sushi concept that is in there.”
“Raquel Stalcup,” Schuster adds, “has been in the industry a long time as well. We went to high school together. She is also one of the partners in Stage Kitchen and Bar and Peche Modern Coastal.”
According to Schuster, South End Smokehouse will lean into the traditions and recipes of Texas-style barbecue, with brisket serving as the “star of the show,” with house-made sausage, pulled pork, ribs, and sides such as mac and cheese, collard greens, baked beans, slaw, and potato salad in a supporting role. Meanwhile, folks will also be able to indulge in libations from a full bar.
“We’re just trying to keep the menu pretty simple because it is a small space, it’s only 1,700 square feet, so it’s not a humongous space,” says Schuster. “But that makes it good for barbecue, you know? Because most barbecue spots are small, cram everybody together, and have that backyard family atmosphere.”
Although South End Smokehouse’s brick-and-mortar won’t launch until next year, Schuster says that he purchased a trailer smoker and will start doing some of the events around Downtown Norcross, including the Blueberry Beer & Music Festival in June, followed by July 3rd activities.