SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Mendel’s Kansas City BBQ is now open in Shaker Heights. The restaurant is named for owner Mendel Segal, who is known to his many fans as the “Rabbi Pitmaster.” Through his stints on the competition BBQ circuit, as well as at his six-year-old Miami-based restaurant, Segal is elevating the craft and standing of kosher barbecue.
“My goal is not to make great kosher BBQ,” Segal says. “It's to make great BBQ that happens to be kosher."
The restaurant is located across Chagrin Boulevard from Van Aken District, in the former home of Lucy’s Sweet Surrender. Like his Miami restaurant, the 80-seat Shaker spot is a little more upscale than your typical roadhouse. And with items like brisket, smoked pastrami, giant beef ribs, beef back ribs, smoked veal brisket, lamb ribs, smoked turkey, burnt ends and smoked chicken, few diners will miss the pork.
In addition to the foods coming out of the pit, the restaurant will offer non-BBQ foods like soups, salads, wings, burgers, fish and steak. To drink, there will be plenty of craft beer and a full liquor license.
Segal says he got into his unconventional career while living and working in BBQ-obsessed Kansas City.
“I was running an organization called The Kansas City VAAD,” he explains. “It's a kosher certification agency. One of our board members brought up, maybe we do a kosher BBQ competition as a fundraiser. I got into it. We did our first event, knocked it out. And we did about, I think, seven years of it, and it became one of the flagship kosher BBQ contests."
Along the way, Segal became known as “Rabbi Q.”
“When I was starting my competition team I was trying to think of a competition name. At the time, ‘rabbi’ was part of my job title. So I was just sitting and having a coffee and I was like, you know, rabbi has two Bs, and add a Q, and it's BBQ, and BAM that was my team."
To check out their menu and learn more, click here.