Great House BBQ, 4233 W. Wabash, opened in October 2019 in the former Tasty City Seafood & Trio space that went dark after less than a year in business. Not only has Great House BBQ already outlasted its predecessor, the restaurant is now planning a major expansion with a second location downtown, plus two other new business ventures.
Renatta Frazier owns the business along with three of her four children: Kurtis Mitchell, Dianna Mitchell and Benjamin “Shug” Frazier. Another son, Kourtney Mitchell, is a silent partner. “All of us have our own talents and skill sets,” said Frazier.
The family has decided to open a second Great House BBQ location downtown, plus a nightclub and special event space. The restaurant will be located at 11 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, which most recently housed The Incubator, a café, bar and co-working space that closed during the pandemic.
“The space is really ready to go, we’re just going to add our signature colors and do some cosmetic work,” said Frazier, who is hoping to be open no later than Aug. 1.
Frazier is also leasing space at 9 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, which formerly housed The Remedy Bar & Drinkery, and plans to open a bar and nightclub called The Cave. “We already have an established liquor license, and we’ve talked to the alderman for the area, so that’s all in the works,” she said.
In addition, Frazier said the small space in between the two buildings will become a special event space known as Jerry’s Place. “Our vision is live music, karaoke, comedy nights, spoken word, paint nights, anything like that,” she said. “It will be a more intimate setting.”
With so much in the works, Frazier said they are planning to bring quite a few new employees on board. “We’re going to schedule a hiring event with interviews on the spot,” she said. “We’re looking for chefs, servers, bartenders, dish washers, cashiers and more.”
The business has come a long way since January of this year, when a customer created a GoFundMe campaign to help Frazier come up with the approximately $7,000 needed to cover back rent and utilities and keep the doors open. The pandemic began just a few months after Great House BBQ initially opened, and the location did not have an option for outdoor seating. The business did not receive federal funding through PPP, but despite the financial struggles, Great House BBQ provided free meals to students while schools were closed in spring 2020.
The GoFundMe effort, which Frazier described as “really a blessing,” raised nearly $6,000. “Someone once told me, ‘When you are a success, it’s because a lot of people want you to be,’” she said. “We live by that. There have been a lot of people in our corner praying, supporting, wishing us well. They’ve put their money where their mouth is, and they’re a huge part of our success.”