Pin It

New 'Cue 

So long Souza's; hello Big Fatty's

Burlington's Brazilian-style barbecue place is being replaced by one that serves U.S.-style pulled pork, pit-roasted chicken and collard greens. Big Fatty's BBQ, a branch of Maple Street Catering of Hartford, Vermont, is scheduled to open March 1 in the Main Street space currently occupied by Souza's restaurant.

Chef-owner Kelly Dietrich says Souza's will stay open through the end of the year. Beginning in January, he plans to "transition" to a larger, more centrally located Burlington building. Since he hasn't yet finalized the lease, he won't disclose the exact coordinates.

Dietrich didn't plan to move - he claims that a dispute over the rent pushed him out. "I was under the assumption that we would re-negotiate the lease," he says, "but the landlord doubled the rent. I told her I was absolutely unable to do that." Though he's sad to vacate the kitchen he's occupied for 10 years - he ran his kids' cooking academy there before opening Souza's - he says, "things happen for a reason; I believe in that."

Clay Vagnini, Big Fatty's pitmaster and husband of Maple Street Catering proprietor Bethany Lewis, might feel the same way about his opportunity to get Queen City residents hooked on "real Southern barbecue." After the success of Big Fatty's in Hartford, he set his sights on Burlington. He says the Main Street space is one he's "lusted after for a long time." For Vagnini, barbecue began as a hobby that became "an avocation." He's been cooking 'cue for 50 years, ever since he was a youngster in Florida.

Some are willing to duel to the death over which state has the best barbecue, but Vagnini doesn't play favorites. He says he employs whatever technique makes the food taste best. His pulled pork is Carolina, the ribs Kentucky-Georgia style, and the brisket pure Texas. He also serves up sides such as old-school-style hushpuppies. The cornbread's made with real corn.

Vagnini, who's not yet sure what kind of hours Big Fatty's will keep, plans to have a bunch of microbrews on tap and to feature blues bands on Friday and Saturday nights. "Nothing goes better with barbecue than blues," he says. But his main goal is clear from the Big Fatty's slogan. Vagnini wants you to "put some South in your mouth."

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Suzanne Podhaizer

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

foodie poll

What are you MOST interested in learning more about?

  • Food-related events, festivals and other gatherings
  • Bars and restaurants — where should I eat out?
  • Farms and agriculture — what's up with the people producing our food?
  • Issues: What are the social, environmental and economic impacts of my food choices?
  • How to cook better meals at home

View Results

Latest in Category

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation