Biz Buzz Monday: Barbecue joint opens in Bellevue

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this development from Bellevue, Iowa, we will share other news in Tuesday’s edition.

BELLEVUE, Iowa — James Frank’s dream was to own a barbecue joint, and he recently made that dream a reality in Bellevue.

Frank celebrated the move of Bad Ash BBQ to its new home at 301 State St. with a grand opening Thursday.

The business, which involves Frank and his wife, Natalia, and son Christian, serves barbecue and accompanying sides from a food trailer parked at their house. For about three months, the trailer was parked in Savanna, Ill., on land Frank purchased along the town’s main drag. However, it quickly became apparent that its location was not safe for the droves of hungry customers who patronized the eatery due to a lack of parking and water runoff issues.

“We had a huge following from Hanover (Ill.) and Galena (Ill.), all those little towns,” Frank said. “We had a following but no parking. It broke my heart that I had to walk away from Savanna due to the comfort of customers.”

But, Frank and his barbecue pit have found a new home — with ample parking included — in Bellevue.

Bad Ash BBQ’s menu includes baby back ribs, pulled pork, brisket, baked beans as well as macaroni and cheese, potato salad and, once the weather warms, soft-serve ice cream.

“I just added pulled pork tacos to the menu, so we will find out how popular that is,” Frank said.

Frank has taken classes and hands-on training from a variety of pitmasters to help hone his craft. He uses a large smoker built onto the trailer and exclusively uses hickory wood to impart authentic barbecue flavor.

“I’ve been smoking meat for two decades, and I have tried every smoker and wood, propane and gas,” Frank said. “I have a pellet smoker for my family, but I always go back to the old school: just hickory logs and a fire.”

Another item on the Bad Ash BBQ menu Frank said is deceptively delicious are the Jimmy Rolls, a dish created by his son Christian.

“It’s the most simple item on the menu,” Frank said. “It’s pulled pork, and I add a four-cheese Mexican blend and roll it into a six-inch tortilla, and then I smoke it again. It’s a double punch of hickory.”

The restaurant is a family affair. The three Franks are its only employees.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” Frank said. “It’s nice that my family supports my dream. It’s not their dream by any means, but they are really supportive and everything we make is homemade.”

Bad Ash BBQ is open 4 to 7 p.m. or until sold out Thursday and Friday and 1 to 7 p.m. or until sold out Saturday and Sunday. More information about the business, including a full menu, is available at and on the business’ Facebook page.