Project 47 Smokehouse open on Main Street

If you blinked, you might’ve missed it—in the space of just a week, the Main Street Wingery transformed into the new Project 47 Smokehouse, Pub, and Patio.

The effort was spearheaded by Justin Taylor and Brent Chester, who bought the eatery at 101 N. Lombard from Wingery owner Rich Minick in late February.

Taylor is better known for his enterprise at the other end of Main Street—JT Walker’s restaurant and brewery—while Chester is the force behind the Chester’s BBQ truck, whose stops at the brewery have gained a Mahomet following.

But Project 47 doesn’t replicate either of those menus, Taylor said. Although they’ve billed the establishment as a smokehouse, “there’s a lot on the menu that isn’t barbecue,” he added.

That includes an array of creative flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and some unique burgers. While JT Walker’s is known for its half-pound burgers, Project 47’s menu features thinner steakburger-style meat patties. 

In the kitchen, Chester is manning the smoker for barbecue enthusiasts, creating dishes like brisket, wings, and pulled pork nachos.

Before last weekend’s opening, Taylor said they’d toyed with the “fast-casual” concept in which diners order at the counter. But—at least for now—they’ve kept the Wingery’s table-service model.

Retaining the Wingery’s customer base was important, he added. Most of the Wingery staff also stayed on through the transition.

That transition was a whirlwind one, as owners revamped the menu and did some renovations to the seating area with the help of family, friends and staff. The walls are now a dark blue, and some rearranging has opened up the dining space.

“We were here a lot of hours, day and night, all week,” Taylor said.

Wall decals featuring World War II-era bombers pick up on another theme: honoring the military. Active and retired military personnel get a 10 percent discount at Project 47.

Taylor said they’re hoping to create a more casual atmosphere than his venture at the other end of the street—an opportunity to complement, not compete with, JT Walker’s.

“Hopefully, they can build off each other,” Taylor said.


Categories (4):News, Restaurants, People, Business


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