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Bee's Barbecue to open second location in former Pontiac spot in Over-the-Rhine

Posted at 12:58 PM, Jun 07, 2023

CINCINNATI — A Tri-State barbecue restaurant is expanding into Over-the-Rhine.

Bee's Barbecue, which has a location in Madisonville, is set to open a second spot along Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. Though an exact date hasn't been released, the location is expected to open in the late summer.

The move comes after owner Brendan "Bee" Hague essentially maxed out the space in his first location, which opened in 2021. Hague first began barbecuing in 2014 when he got his first smoker, which led to him experimenting with different techniques, flavors and more before hosting pop-ups.

Brendan "Bee" Hague is set to open a second location for Bee's Barbecue in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine.

"At the time, my brother was the Chef de Cuisine at Dutch's Larder in Hyde Park," Hague said. "The restaurant would close at 4 on Sundays and then I'd arrive, smoking trailer in tow, ready to sell my barbecue. Before long, we had a line of people waiting for us to open every week. At that point, I knew it was time to find a permanent spot for Bee's."

Lindzie Gunnels with 3CDC said it's always exciting working with someone whose business is growing so much it needs a new location.

Bee's second spot — a 2,900-square-foot space at 1403 Vine Street — is taking over the former Pontiac OTR location. Pontiac, which was owned by longtime OTR restaurateur Daniel Wright, quietly closed its doors without reason in early 2023.

Hague called the new location a "turnkey situation" with the equipment needed already there to hit the ground running.

Bee's second restaurant will have a more "sports-centric" feel with multiple TVs, indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar with 10 draft lines. Hague's menu will feature brisket, pulled pork, specialty sandwiches and homemade sides among other mouth-watering barbecue staples.

Hague plans for the restaurant to open at 4 p.m. and then transition to a bar menu for the later evening hours.

"I'm so excited to be on Cincinnati's center stage," Hague said. "This is home for me. Some people leave and come back — but I've never left. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to serve more of the city I live in."

Prior to Bee's Barbecue, Hague has worked at MadTree, Liberty's Bar and Bottle, Neon's and more within the Cincinnati bar and restaurant scene.

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