Table Hoppin’: Brothers bring barbecue to Mill Street restaurant
By Barbara M. Houle
Mar 27, 2019
Restaurant space on Mill Street in Worcester next to Coes Pond came alive again with the recent opening of Big T's Mill Street BBQ Company.
Brothers Scott Tefft and Bob Tefft took over the former Legacy Bar and Grill location at 242 Mill Street, opening to a jam-packed house.
The Mill Street location had been home to several restaurants that failed before Legacy moved in. Joey’s Bar and Grill was the exception and thrived until owner Joey Rovezzi decided in 2015 to move his business from Mill Street to Chandler Street in Worcester, now a popular eatery on the west side of the city.
Scott Tefft has owned the family-run catering business since 1990. The company’s food truck has traveled the New England barbecue circuit, catered backyard barbecues and shown up at local and community events.
In addition to the Sterling catering business, Tefft also owned and operated Woodfire BBQ on Hope Avenue in Worcester for several years. He retired from a full-time job at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction to further pursue barbecue and work as a restaurant consultant, he said.
“I started in food when I was about 12, working beside my father in his business,” said Tefft, who for the past four years has won top prize at the Wachusett Mountain BBQ Fest. Last year, they were a big winner in the chili competition.
Bob Tefft has had a successful career of his own, in and out of the food business. A biochemist and businessman, Tefft worked for his friend, local restaurateur Savvas Fotiadis, when he and wife, Janet, first opened and operated Grill on the Hill at Green Hill Golf Course in Worcester. Fotiadis, his sister and brother own and operate The Manor Banquet Facility and The Draught House Bar and Grill in West Boylston.
Bob Tefft’s two daughters work at MIll Street as host and bartender.
The Tefft brothers previously had looked at the Mill Street property and said they “jumped at the chance to take it over” when contacted that it might be vacant.
Last year, Scott Tefft had announced that he would open a barbecue restaurant in Fitchburg, but the deal didn’t work out, he said, explaining that it would have been a smaller operation than Mill Street and offer counter service only.
The interior of the 88-seat restaurant has changed with the addition of casual “country” décor and red painted walls, all adding “some flair” to the dining room and bar.
The owners plan to have an outside patio with a view of the water. Fencing and outdoor plants will not obstruct the view, they said. Patio seating is expected before summer. A block party is in the works!
Bike Night Wednesdays, complete with a pig roast, is on the calendar. The opening date will be announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
A Beer of the Month Club will feature “premium and regular” local brews on tap. The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is helping the Tefft brothers launch the program.
Jonathon Paradise, formerly with the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, is the chef at the restaurant. Scott Tefft continues to be the pitmaster, using an outside smoker at the Mill Street property for BBQ meats.
Mill Street BBQ Company is currently open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; Telephone: (508) 762-9990. Note: Hours may change, according to the owners. “We may tweak things a little,” said Bob Tefft. “Nothing major.”
There’s barbecue and then there’s Scott Tefft’s southern-style barbecue.
The Worcester restaurant’s menu includes “Seriously Smokin’ Stuff!” Dirty Tots, crispy tater tots topped with burnt ends and gravy and house beer cheese sauce, is already a big fan favorite from the list of Starters, said Bob Tefft.
Guests can choose from Signature Sandwiches, Pit Dinners, build a BBQ Sundae, BBQ By the Bulk, Sides, etc. Plenty of food choices whether you have an appetite for pulled pork, ribs, brisket or pulled chicken.
A Kids Menu includes an entrée, one side and ice cream.
If you really want to get a taste of barbecue, check out the Full Pit Board, $99, (serves 2 to 4 people). There’s Pulled Pork, Chicken BBQ Sausage, St. Louis Ribs, Chuck Rib, Fried Chicken, Texas Brisket, Country Rice, Cornbread, Baked Beans, Roasted Veggies and Mac N’ Cheese.
Locally and nationally, the business of barbecue continues to heat up!