Black Sheep Bah-Bah-Q opens new Worcester restaurant on Chandler Street
When visitors enter the Black Sheep Bah-Bah-Q parking lot at 397 Chandler St., the first thing they notice is the delicious grilled smell in the air.
Because everything served at the restaurant, which officially opened last week, is cooked and served fresh in a huge smoking and kitchen mobile behind the building. The restaurant’s food earned it a loyal following when it opened as a seasonal street stall in Spencer in 2021, and is now already gaining momentum in Worcester, having only opened for takeout in December.
“It was nerve wracking not knowing what to expect,” said Jennifer Wright, who owns Black Sheep with partner Patrick Flynn. “But people love the food.”
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The restaurant looks small from the outside but as visitors walk past the bar they are greeted by an expansive dining room which currently seats around 60 people.
Wright said the space that was City Bar and Grille’s former home was mostly move-in ready, including much of the furniture, when they found it, but they still made sure to make it their own. A large table in the dining room is made from an old Colonial Bowling Center bowling alley, and more lanes will soon be used to create bar-corner-style seating in front of the restaurant.
The walls of Black Sheep feature a rotating selection of artworks by a new local artist each month, most of which are for sale. Whilst the main artist this month is Marlborough photographer Ed Roche who has been hanging pictures of the Worcester area around the restaurant, they plan to feature a variety of art types and have already planned some from painters to charcoal drawings.
“It’s a cool way to fill the wall,” Wright said.
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A planned display will be handcrafted birdhouses by one of the restaurant’s chefs, Scott Gould, who is building them at home. When this happens, 75% of sales of the birdhouses will benefit a local charity to be determined, with the remaining 25% going back to creating more birdhouses.
Black Sheep is currently selling potted plants hanging in the restaurant’s windows to help charity and plans to send the money to a different organization each month.
Black Sheep’s menu includes all the signature grilled dishes and sides, as well as sandwiches, desserts and more. Almost everything on the menu is gluten free or can be prepared upon request.
“It’s important to me and a growing group of people,” said Wright, who follows a gluten-free diet herself for health reasons. “It’s a bit more expensive, but people know that.”
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At the back of the restaurant, Flynn spends hours preparing meat in the 12-shelf smoker and kitchen cart, which rotates once every 60 seconds to ensure every cut is cooked to perfection.
He said that when he was first able to use the restaurant’s indoor kitchen, he was shocked at the difference it made after using only the trailer for nearly two years.
“When I cut my pork belly in, it was very different,” he said.
Wright and Flynn are still working through the problems at the restaurant while they adjust to people eating at the restaurant. On their first Friday night, they had more customers than expected and had to open later in the day on Saturday to prepare more groceries.
However, once they gain momentum, they plan to offer Sunday brunch and live entertainment.
Wright said she is happy with how things are going and that people are enjoying their experience at Black Sheep so far.
“Everyone in the neighborhood was very hospitable,” she said, adding that when people were in Spencer they would come by and say they lived just down the road and come see what they had to offer. “It’s the same here.”