LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Owner and Pitmaster, Bill Fletcher and his experienced crew are eager to welcome western Mass. residents into their little corner of the barbecue world, Fletcher’s BBQ Shop & Steakhouse will offer classic wood fire cooking with a new-age twist.

Before construction began in Longmeadow, Fletcher’s operated out of their Brooklyn shop for a decade, home smoking barbecue for the NYC community. Bill Fletcher says what ultimately inspired the move from the spirited Brooklyn neighborhood to western Mass. was the mobile dating app, Tinder. Thanks to Tinder, Bill met his wife, who lives in Longmeadow, and ended up falling in love with the town as well.

Cooking in the age-old tradition of pit-barbecue, using full logs of maple and red oak that burn 365 days a year, Fletcher’s will be smoking the “best brisket’s they’ve ever made”, according to Bill. Executive Chef, Joseph Raymond brings an extensive fine-dining pedigree, and will be offering unique dishes such as, BBQ ramen, cold-smoked then seared steaks, spicy shrimp hushpuppies, brisket fries, and a brisket cheesesteak, just to name a few. “It has been exhilarating to merge our culinary forces. Think: over-all’s and an axe, meets chef coat and flawless execution,” says Bill.

The restaurant will be operating out of the same space of Longmeadow institution, Rinaldi’s, which closed In 2018, after being open for 41 years. “Rinaldi’s have welcomed me with open arms, it’s wonderful to have a landlord who was a restauranteur and understands the logistics and challenges I face,” Bill says. “Renovating the physical Rinaldi’s space was really exciting, and we made countless enhancements to the space in the hopes of repeating the storied longevity Robert and his family have done before us.”

With over 400 applications submitted for open positions, Bill says that he is blown away by the caliber of staff they were able to assemble. “From Chef Joe, to our GM Patrick Murphy, and our FOH Manager Makayla Syphrit, our leadership team is not only talented and experienced, but supportive, kind, and just fun to be around,” said Bill. “The kitchen staff is eager, professional, and extremely talented; the waitstaff is filled with folks who truly love what they do, are supportive of each other.”

Fletcher’s is set to have their grand opening on Sunday, April 30 at 408 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA, and will be open Thursdays thru Mondays, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. According to the owner, they will be dine-in only for the time being, and will be adding more days, lunch hours, and takeout as the weeks progress.