Before forming his barbecue venture — Shortall’s BBQ, a Texas-style barbecue pop-up located at Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City — Chris Shortall attended University of North Texas and earned a degree in hotel management. One of the final components of his education included an internship, and eventually a job, at John Besh’s coveted Restaurant August. With only two cooking classes under his belt and a somewhat rocky first day at the restaurant (Shortall recalls searching through the walk-in freezer for chervil (French parsley), an ingredient he had never heard of, for the Executive Chef), Shortall managed to hold his own at August, staying for two years.
After leaving August, Shortall migrated to Garden District restaurant Coquette, where he worked as the sous chef. During his stint at Coquette, Shortall met Cole Newton, the owner of the Twelve Mile Limit, and after a rich dialogue about barbecue, Shortall’s BBQ (on Halloween of 2010, to be exact) was born.
Apprehensive about quitting his job at Coquette for a risky in-bar BBQ joint, Shortall recruited family members, whom are in the catering business in Dallas, to help him launch his eatery, so he could continue working at Coquette as well. For the first three month’s of operations, Shortall’s dad ran Shortall’s BBQ, until a fork-in-the-foot incident, which sent him back to Dallas. Since, Shortall has functioned as the proud owner, chef, accountant, and sometimes beer opener at his joint.
Although Twelve Mile Limit and Shortall’s are separate businesses operating under one roof, the two work harmoniously with one another. “Food and drinks have a symbiotic relationship,” Chris Shortall says. “So, it was a great relationship off the bat.” And since Twelve Mile Limit already had established considerable traffic, Shortall says he didn’t need to do much advertising; he merely kept the patrons full and happy.
As for the food, the main attraction at Shortall’s BBQ is, as implied by its name, barbecued meat — smoked, Texas-style barbecue to be exact. Why smoked meat? Chris Shortall says he wanted to incorporate some of his Texas roots into the New Orleans culinary scene. Thus, he concentrates on barbecue and traditional Texas sides, rather than boiled seafood and other native Louisiana dishes. Shortall also is proud to note that because his business is smoking meat, very little food is wasted — a major issue for many restaurants of other niches and cuisines.
Although his business has been up and running for three-and-a-half years, there’s never a dull minute for the owner. Jack of all trades, Shortall wears many hats at his eatery: he orders the food, shops, cooks, performs necessary maintenance work, occasionally pours a beer and functions as a makeshift bouncer. When he’s not at his barbecue joint, Shortall runs the lunch and snack program at a daycare called, The Nursery, where he prepares healthy lunches and snacks for children enrolled in the program. In between time at Shortall’s BBQ and The Nursery, the man can be found grabbing a bite at one of his two favorite local spots, Majoria’s Commerce (hint: get the red beans and rice) and Stein’s Deli, or hanging out with his 22-month old, a frequent visitor at the eatery.
What does the future hold for Chris Shortall and his two Weber smokers? Chris and the Twelve Mile team are scoping out a new project in a soon-to-be-revealed locaation. The plan for the new venture will be based upon a completely different style and approach to drinking and eating than that of Shortall’s BBQ. When asked what he thinks is missing from the New Orleans culinary scene, Chris half-jokingly remarks, “Yeah, the restaurant I am about to do next.” Even so, he admits that New Orleans holds handfuls of treasure when it comes to dining and you can find almost anything your heart, or stomach, desires.
*Check back this Thursday for Shortall’s ‘Rectum Rockets’ recipe, fresh off the menu!
If you go:
Shortall’s BBQ: 500 S. Telemachus (Inside Twelve Mile Limit)
Free dinner every Monday from 7 – 8 PM
Dinner: Tuesday – Thursday 5 – 11 PM
Friday and Saturday 5 – 12 AM
Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM – 2 PM