Fat Rick's Returns to a Retail Shop

The legendary barbecue joint is back in a storefront and ready to serve you a mouth-watering meal.

After a 15-year hiatus, Fat Rick’s legendary barbecue once again has a brick-and-mortar storefront home. Fat Rick’s Express (1413 Foulk Road, Wilmington, 300-4165) opened last summer in an office complex. Rick Betz closed his last retail operation in nearby Branmar Plaza in 1999 and remained strictly a catering business, popping out for an occasional public appearance at community events like the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival. But the small commercial kitchen that operated as Fat Rick HQ was also limiting: Betz and his crew could only tackle one big catering job per weekend. Since moving into its new location, Fat Rick’s has doubled its output and provided walk-in business for area workers, or anyone who wanders in. For Betz, it was a tough pill to swallow, but a worthwhile one. “I had told maybe 10,000 people over the last few years that I would never open a restaurant again,” he says with a laugh. “But now I actually enjoy it.” At Fat Rick’s Express, Betz furnishes Wilmington with a rarity: authentic barbecue. Carolina-style pulled pork and Memphis-inspired ribs are smoked with well-seasoned hard woods like red oak and hickory. The Texas beef brisket is smoked for 16 hours.

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Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Rick Betz is back in the restaurant business.

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