beast craft bbq chef-owner david sandusky photo by jennifer silverberg courtesy of beast craft bbq

Smoke & Kettle will open in Fairview Heights from the team behind Beast Craft BBQ Co.

Acclaimed pitmaster David Sandusky earned national recognition for Beast Craft BBQ Co. at 20 S. Belt W, Belleville, but the new concept he plans to open this coming month is something quite different: an operation embedded within a Knights of Columbus Hall at 5420 Old Collinsville Road in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Smoke & Kettle will offer a fish- and chicken-forward menu — just in time for Lent, which begins on Wednesday, Feb. 14, this year. Options will include catfish, cod and shrimp, as well as some barbecue for good measure.

Sandusky describes the restaurant he'll be opening on site as a counter-service operation seating 30 to 40. He plans regular hours beginning with Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent and later expanding.

But it's the banquet hall at the Knights of Columbus Club & Event Center that really has Sandusky excited. It seats 300. "We're really going to establish our catering and events in a way we've never been able to do before because we never had the facility," he says. "We're really good at it. Now we have the ability put people in seats."

Sandusky and his wife and co-owner Meggan have lately opened concepts in non-traditional venues after the pandemic downturn led to the closure of their ambitious second location in the Grove, Beast Butcher & Block. They're now at CityPark stadium, where they do a brisk business at City SC games and also on the campus of Washington University.

Sandusky is excited to serve the Knights of Columbus — or anyone who'd want to stop by their hall for a good meal. "It's a cool way to connect with the community in a different way," he says. "We're going to meet new people at a place they're already going — and give them something different."

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.