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Our Story

In early 2009, founders John Senger and Nate Rockwell opened Briquettes Smokehouse in a small 14 seat dining room, in the heart of Ashtabula Harbor.  Their dream was to bring the traditions of smoked meat to the Ashtabula area that they both call home.  Twelve years have passed since then, and the dream has grown beyond their wildest expectations. The business has grown, and with it, so has the ownership team.  In 2017, Shane Styzej became the newest member of the partnership team, after his job advancement carried him from dishwasher, to bartender, to manager, and finally, to owner.

Between them, the partners of Briquettes Smokehouse boast 9 amazing children and 3 incredibly supportive life partners.

Briquettes Smokehouse has the honor of being a cornerstone business in the renown Ashtabula Harbor District - recognized as an "America's Main Street" winner and well known as one of the prime culinary scenes on Lake Erie.

Since its early days, Briquettes has been focused on the most important aspect of barbeque; that it is more than just a food -- it is a COMMUNITY event.

Today, Briquettes Smokehouse's team takes great pride in being more than just a business and more than just some of the best Q in the land . . . Briquettes is committed to its team, to its neighbors, to its community, and to the world it is a part of.  From dedication to providing meaningful employment, to the dedication of the staff and owners in giving back to their neighbors with their time and expertise; when you dine at Briquettes, you experience the best people and food Ohio has to offer.  Come enjoy, and then help spread The Truth.

Fun Facts

- The signature "Maple Mustard" bbq sauce is made with real maple syrup, harvested locally from the trees of our founder's startup farm, and with help from Bissell Maple Farm.

- Briquettes takes its responsibility to its team members seriously.  Full time employees have company-matched health insurance options, the business has an aggressive profit sharing program, and we are always looking for ways to promote from within -- including to positions of ownership.

- Our "Q" is pretty environmentally friendly stuff.  We use super efficient smokers that are so well insulated, they are able to run effortlessly, even in sub-zero temperatures.  We never cut a tree down for our cordwood.  100% of the wood we use for smoking is either purchased from a tree service that has the wood as a by-product, or a tree fell in our founder's woodlot and is a "gift that nature has provided."

- Part of our regional flavor is from using only locally harvested cherry wood as the daily smoking wood.

Our Team