Editor’s Note: The article was written by Pete Blanchard of the Cortland Voice.

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A Philadelphia-based barbecue restaurant franchise will launch its latest eatery in Cortland, replacing a locally owned BBQ joint that closed in March 2014.

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Fat Jack’s BBQ has signed a lease on a property at 234 Tompkins Street in Cortland and plans to open a restaurant there in early 2016, according to Kevin Gross, co-owner of the franchise.

The building was formerly occupied by Smokin’ Mule BBQ, which first opened in March 2011 and closed this past summer.

The Smokin’ Mule barbecue restaurant at 234 Tompkins Street in Cortland closed in March 2014 (photo courtesy of Smokin’ Mule Facebook page).
The Smokin’ Mule barbecue restaurant at 234 Tompkins Street in Cortland closed in March 2014 (photo courtesy of Smokin’ Mule Facebook page).

The East Coast chain known for its southern hickory smoked BBQ—including ribs, Texas Beef Brisket, chicken wings and sauces—has restaurants in Ithaca, Philadelphia, Elkins Park, P.A., and Malvern, P.A. The Ithaca location, which opened in 2013, has proven to be one of the chain’s most successful ventures, Gross said.

The franchise plans to utilize the existing building on Tompkins Street, which Gross says is larger in size than most Fat Jack’s restaurants.

“It’s huge, and it’s not the kind of restaurant that we normally do or take over,” Gross said, adding that most of their locations are not your typical sit-down restaurants. Still, he says the building will be modified and designed to “make it look like a Fat Jack’s across the board.”

The restaurant expects to employ anywhere between 10 to 20 employees, he said.

The chain is also planning three more locations in Pennsylvania and expects to have 10 locations by the end of 2016.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.