Low and slow: Ipswich drooling over new BBQ venue
LUKE Saggus lives, breathes and even dreams barbecue.
Almost exactly 12 months to the day he and wife Laurie-Anne took the first steps to setting up their own restaurant.
This weekend it will open to the public.
Phat Boyz Smokehouse and Kitchen will officially open from Saturday at the Waterlea residential estate in Walloon, fulfilling a dream for the former construction sales manager.
The business has built a devoted online following of more than 15,000 people, drawn to the delicious line-up of ‘low and slow’ cooked meats and other mouth watering dishes.
Its catering arm is booked out until 2023.
Hungry customers have travelled from Cairns, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the western side of Toowoomba, Murgon and even New South Wales just to get a taste with long queues the norm.
Phat Boyz started as a competitive barbecue team in 2017 before Mr Saggus set up at markets and out of his back shed with an online store.
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A bricks and mortar presence followed in Bundamba in 2019 and it has just “grown and grown and grown” since then.
The married couple lives just around the corner from the estate and both were born in Ipswich.
Mr Saggus said local ingredients were important, and almost everything on the menu is made up entirely from local ingredients and the restaurant’s 25 staff all live in the area.
About 6000 people are expected to be living in the Waterlea estate when it is completed with 42,000 residents set to ultimately live in the corridor between Walloon and Rosewood.
About 750 people currently live in the estate.
The restaurant and bar will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with new additions to the menu joining regular favourites.
“It’s getting populated pretty quickly,” Mr Saggus said.
“It was the right place (to set up)
“We’re keeping our original menu.
“We’re adding a few different burgers – a peanut butter and jelly burger – things like that. We’re adding brisket ramen noodles, we’re adding acai bowls with honey smoked nuts.
“We are catering for vegetarians, we are catering for the hardcore carnivores, the coffee lovers, the milkshake lovers, the morning tradies that come through.
“We’ve got the licensed grass area for beer lovers.
“We’ve pretty much sat down and worked out something over the last 12 months to make sure we’ve got everything covered.”
Customers in the 108-seat venue will be able to watch their meat being prepared from their table in the five-metre, two-tonne ‘Moonshine Express’ smoker and the custom-made ‘bird cage’.
Thousands of people contacted them to get one of the first seats this week but bookings are essential to secure a place.
“I wake up of a morning and the first thing I talk about to my wife is barbecue,” Mr Saggus said.
“I go to bed of an evening and the last thing I do is talk about barbecue.
“My sister works here, my children work here. My mum helps out and so does my mother-in-law.
“We are a family-run business. I think a lot of people love to see that. It’s gone crazy.
“I’m a hands-on person. Being a business owner won’t change that. I like to cook. I was here at 2am (on Wednesday) and left at 11pm.”
A man with grand plans for the future, Mr Saggus said he was already planning to set up other venue but that likely won’t be in Ipswich.
“I dream big,” he said.
“We’re just trying to out exactly whereabouts.
“I don’t think it will be in the Ipswich area considering we’ve already got a Bundamba store and now here.
“We’ve got the opportunity to expand (the restaurant) even more next door.
“This year we’ll see what happens with that there and then we’ll try something different next year.”
The restaurant is the anchor tenant of the estate’s food and retail building called The Hangar, which estate developer RBG Services is hoping becomes a ‘foodie destination’ to draw in people from across Ipswich, Brisbane and beyond.
The thousands of people based at RAAF Base Amberley are also just a short drive away.
The idea of bringing in a microbrewery, bakery or even another restaurant has been thrown around to fill the other two tenancies in the building.
The Phat Boyz Bundamba shop will function as usual but all food aspects will move to the Walloon restaurant, including cooking classes.
Phat Boyz Smokehouse and Kitchen will open fully for breakfast from Monday but bookings are essential.
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.