Food & Drink

Smoked turkey, brisket and ribs on the menu at new Waterloo barbecue

Shorty’s Smokehouse opens in Waterloo

Shorty's Smokehouse recently opened in downtown Waterloo. Co-owner Anthony Hassler talks about the new space.
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Shorty's Smokehouse recently opened in downtown Waterloo. Co-owner Anthony Hassler talks about the new space.

If you haven’t been to Waterloo in awhile, you might not recognize downtown.

The Monroe County gem has upped its game on Main Street, and a new barbecue restaurant, Shorty’s Smokehouse, recently opened at 121 South Main Street.

Shorty’s now occupies the historic building that once housed Waterloo’s “City Hotel.” The building was recently renovated from top to bottom.

“We’re enjoying being a part of the revival of the middle of Waterloo,” Anthony Hassler, co-owner of Shorty’s Smokehouse, said. “We love it here.”

Hassler co-owns the business with Brandon Bauza. They started by building a custom smoker, participating in competitions and eventually decided to open a restaurant.

Hassler has Kansas City roots, but says the barbecue at Shorty’s has its own style. Both owners wanted to keep things simple and go back to the basics.

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Shorty’s Smokehouse recently opened in Waterloo. Cara Anthony canthony@bnd.com

“We’re trying to do the old school traditional way, low and slow,” Hassler said. “I know a lot people like to put a crazy twist on barbecue, but we want to bring it back to its originality.”

Smoked turkey, brisket, sausage, and ribs are on the menu. It’s available by the pound or on sandwiches and platters. Side dishes include: potato salad, pit beans, red wine vinaigrette coleslaw and smoked Gouda mac and cheese.

Pork rinds are made daily.

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Co-owner and chef Anthony Hassler works behind the counter at Shorty’s Smokehouse in Waterloo. Cara Anthony canthony@bnd.com

“Our menu is simple,” Hassler said. “We wanted to make a short and small menu to ensure quality in everything that we do.”

Years ago, “barbecue places started off as meat shops,” Hassler explained. He wants to honor that history by keeping it simple.

Hassler grew up around barbecue in Kansas city where his dad, John Hassler, sold barbecue turkey.

The craft barbecue scene in the metro-east is getting more competitive with the opening of new restaurants and stands.

Sugarfire 64 opened in O’Fallon last year along with Good Heavens BBQ in East St. Louis. Beast Craft BBQ Co. remodeled its Belleville location in 2017 and has plans to open another in St. Louis.

Shorty’s Smokehouse is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is closed Monday.

Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.

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