Restaurateur opens lakeshore barbecue joint
A barbecue restaurant led by a national pit-smoking champion has opened on the lakeshore.
Owner Eric Chaitin opened Baldy’s Smoked Meats, which also does catering, on the waterfront in downtown Saugatuck, at 340 Water St., according to the restaurant yesterday.
George Weir, a five-time Pacific Northwest BBQ Association champion, is the executive chef and pit master.
“George’s experience in this industry is unmatched, with 49 years in the culinary arts and 38 years smoking meats,” said Chaitin, who also owns Mermaid Bar & Grill in the same building as Baldy’s Smoked Meats.
“We’re bringing exceptional barbecue to the Saugatuck area and celebrating the taste of West Michigan with something fresh and new.”
The restaurant features a variety of traditional and premium smoked meats, including brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork, spare ribs, baby back ribs, salmon and ribeye.
The meats are smoked daily in a custom-built smoker that holds about 1,800 pounds of meat per cook cycle.
The smoker is fueled by locally sourced cherry, apple, white oak, hickory and sugar maple trees, which give the meat a “wild” flavor.
Baldy’s Smoked Meats makes its own rubs, mops and sauces in-house and offers a range of sandwiches and sides.
Tyler Broucek is the general manager.
Chaitlin hired 15-20 employees — who are shared between Mermaid and Baldy’s — to staff the restaurant.
It is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The catering menu is available online. People can place catering orders by emailing catering at baldyssmokedmeats dot com.