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There’s no nip in the air quite yet, but the calendar doesn’t lie: we are only days away from the start of football season. Football means tailgating which also means barbeque (although to us, barbeque is year-round), and we’re proud to be your tailgating advisors! Here are our top five tailgating tips:

  • Start setting up early—everyone knows it’s bad luck if you’re still doing party prep during the coin toss (probably). Order online or call ahead to skip the line.
  • Finger food is a must! No one wants to wrangle a plate, fork, knife, and napkin—and it’s hard to do the wave (or Surrender Cobra) when your hands are full. Be prepared with a pulled pork slider pack or double-smoked brisket taqos and keep a hand free for high-fives!
    • We know that sometimes you want to go above and beyond (show-off!) and we have you covered for that too. Party Packs or our catering experts can give you the full spread and help you earn the MVH (Most Valuable Host) title.
  • Remember to bring extra: ice, chairs, sunscreen, trash bags, extension cords, and the most important – brisket!
  • Take a tip from your favorite City Barbeque joint and stash your condiments in an empty six-pack holder for easy transportation and handling.
  • Keep everyone hydrated: while some folks may be enjoying a cold one, you don’t want the under-21 crowd to go thirsty. Add a case of old-fashioned sodas to your order and wash down the accolades with an ice-cold Cheerwine. You’ve earned it!

Columbus, Ohio – June 29, 2016 – City Barbeque, a high-growth, fast-casual restaurant company focused on authentic, “smoker-to-table” barbeque, is proud to announce a new financial partnership with Freeman Spogli & Co., a leading private equity investment firm. “This is an exciting moment in our company’s history,” said Rick Malir, founder of City Barbeque. “This partnership allows us to take City Barbeque to new places, give our amazing employees additional opportunities to grow, and bring smiles to new guests and raving fans across the country.”

City Barbeque was founded in 1999 by Rick Malir and a team of barbeque enthusiasts who won the American Royal Invitational for the best brisket in the country. From its humble beginnings in a renovated donut shop in Upper Arlington, Ohio, to its 26th restaurant which recently opened in Durham, North Carolina, City Barbeque has established itself as one of the nation’s best barbeque restaurants.

“City Barbeque possesses the exact qualities Freeman Spogli looks for in a restaurant partner,” said Brad Brutocao, a Partner at Freeman Spogli. “The company has craveable food, a passionate management team, an impressive culture of hospitality, and a loyal fan base in each of its markets. We have been interested in City Barbeque for several years, and we are enthusiastic about partnering with Rick and his team during this exciting phase of growth for the company.”

“The same friendly teams will continue bringing you the food and service you have come to expect,” said Rick Malir. “Our partnership with Freeman Spogli will allow us to bring City Barbeque to new markets, explore and generate new insights for the company, and leverage their team’s deep experience in the restaurant space as we chart our exciting path into the future.”

BMO Capital Markets Corp. acted as exclusive financial advisor to City Barbeque. Ice Miller LLP provided legal counsel to City Barbeque and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP provided legal counsel to Freeman Spogli.

About City Barbeque
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, City Barbeque is a highgrowth, fast-casual restaurant company focused on authentic, “smoker-to-table” barbeque. The company operates 26 company-owned restaurants across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina in addition to two legacy franchise locations in Ohio. City Barbeque provides competition-quality barbeque and has more than 100 certified barbeque judges on staff. The company’s commitment to quality requires meats to be slow-smoked on site, sandwiches trimmed to order, and sides and desserts made from scratch in the restaurant. Served in a fast-casual format, guests can enjoy their barbeque in a relaxed indoor and outdoor environment. City Barbeque also offers full-service catering for weddings, company picnics, large parties, and other events. City Barbeque and its management team believe that great barbeque is not just about food, but also about community. The company was founded on the commitment of investing in the communities it serves, which it upholds through numerous partnerships with non-profits and local charities.

About Freeman Spogli & Co.
Freeman Spogli & Co. is a private equity firm dedicated exclusively to investing in and partnering with management in consumer-related and distribution companies in the United States. Since its founding in 1983, Freeman Spogli has invested over $3.7 billion in 55 portfolio companies with aggregate transaction value of approximately $21 billion, and is currently making investments from FS Equity Partners VII, L.P. Freeman Spogli has offices in Los Angeles and New York. For additional information, visit

  • City Barbeque /
    Buy Dad a $30 gift card and we’ll give YOU a free pulled pork sandwich, now through Father’s Day (click here for details)!  And don’t forget to check out our online shop where we have hats, a variety of shirts and our award-winning sauces available to ship to Dad!

    •  Keep reading to find out how you can win Dad a smoker (or awesome City Barbeque swag)!
  • Cliff Original
    Cliff Original is based in Columbus, OH (our hometown – woohoo!) and they offer tons of great grooming products to keep your dad looking so fresh and so clean. Our personal fave? The Beard Care Dopp Kit which includes everything your dad needs for his daily manscaping routine. BONUS – Cliff donates 10% of profits back to charities in the Columbus community each year… high five, Cliff!
  • Wood Chip Kit by Meadow Lark Woods
    These unique Gourmet Wood Chips are the perfect gift for the BBQing Dad! They are crafted by a father and his two sons (after school, of course) and are sold on Etsy. These perfectly chopped wood chips will help unlock unique flavors in your home prepared meats!
  • Giant Head Cutout
    Order a giant head cutout of yourself and force your dad to bring it to every event you can’t be a part of. Dad gets to view an enlarged version of his greatest creation (you), and you get the recognition you deserve for being a fantastic child. Win/win. (Okay, okay, we just think this is hilarious… but if you buy one for Dad, please send us a pic – we might even reward you with free bbq because you’re awesome!)
  • At Home Brewing Kit by the Brewer’s Market
    Does your dad enjoy the occasional cold one? Surprise him with this at home brewing kit, available now on Etsy! This gallon growler & home beer crafting pack from Brewers Market is the perfect DIY gift for dad. There are a variety of options to choose from, so your dad can get his brew on.
  • Smoker
    Is your Dad a self-proclaimed grill master? Let’s make him a SMOKER master! Want to win this combination Offset Smoker, BBQ & Charcoal Grill for your Dad and have it delivered just in time for Father’s day? Here’s how:

    • Comment on our Father’s Day Gift Guide Facebook post and let us know why your Dad rocks! Feel free to tag your dad to give him a shout out and make his day.
    • Contest runs June 10-15, all winners will be randomly selected and notified via FB at 2PM on June 15th.
    • One Grand Prize winner will receive the Char-Broil Smoker. Smoker will be shipped and arrive by no later than Sunday, June 19th. Just in time for Father’s Day!
    • 1 Runner Up will receive a $50 City Barbeque gift card to use in any of our 26 joints.
    • 1 Runner Up will receive a $50 credit to our Online Shop!

This June, our Loyalty Members get $2 for referring new folks to our Loyalty Program because we believe sharing is caring (and in this case, delicious too)!

Loyalty Members get $2 for each referred friend* who downloads the City BBQ App and makes a purchase using the App! PLUS, your friend gets our App Sign Up Offers of a free drink on their first visit, free cake on 2nd visit, and $5 on the 3rd visit. Win/Win!
Here’s how it works:

  1.  Become a Member of City Rewards, if you’re not already, by downloading the City BBQ App via the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Once a member, invite friends* (who are not already members) from the App, see side menu “Invite Friends”. Once they download the app, they will be prompted to enter your “Invite Code” as part of the sign up process.
  3. Once they make their first purchase using the App, you’ll get a $2 offer – it’s that easy!**
  4. Refer like crazy – you can get multiple $2 Referral Offers!

*To receive Referral Offer, referred folks have to be new to the City Barbeque Rewards Program.
**$2 offer will expire after 60 days. One offer can be used per visit. You will get the $2 offer when your friend uses the referral code and makes their first purchase (download and purchase must be completed in June to get the offer).

Happy Sharing!

Starting in January, we will donate all of the profits from our sales of limited edition drink tumblers to Resurrecting Lives Foundation, an organization that assists Veterans with traumatic brain injuries.  Guests who purchase the tumblers for $5 receive free refills with any purchase through the end of March, along with the satisfaction of knowing they are helping our country’s heroes. Hurry, there are limited quantities of these tumblers!


In 2015, we proudly helped raise over 12,000 dollars to support Resurrecting Lives.  “I am just so very grateful at your generosity and the success of the campaign.  You are wonderful for doing this for our returning heroes,” said Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, in reference to the 2015 donation.

Donation pic 2015 small


Resurrecting Lives Foundation assists in the recovery and reintegration of Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans by defining the brain pathology and by developing protocols for recovery. They advocate for returning heroes and their families for collaborations with civilian institutions to provide health care, education and employment. As Director of Operations, Eric Kazmierczak explains, “We honor the fallen by taking care of their brothers and sisters who return.”


On Veteran’s day, we gave away free meals to Veterans and has also contributed to Elderheart’s Misison 22 awareness campaign.  “It’s a big part of our company culture,” said Brian Hipsher, VP of Marketing for City Barbeque, “Our employees really care about our communities, and we help however we can.”  In addition to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation, company-wide charity ties include ongoing partnerships with Future Farmers of America, Food Rescue- which collaborates with local food banks to freeze and donate any quality leftovers at each City Barbeque location, and local Cancer Research organanzations.  All locations partner with local organizations to give back to the communities in their backyards. As a company initiative we allow any non-profit to host fundraisers at our locations with 25 percent of sales brought in going directly back to their cause. In 2015, we proudly donated over $300,000 to local organizations!

Aw, shucks—you’re making us blush! Truth is, it is because of customers like you we LOVE what we do!

I wanted to express our appreciation for the tremendous work you and your staff did in providing the catered meat for our daughter’s wedding reception on August 1st of this year.  Here are a few of the things that blessed us most:

  • Your professionalism, cheerfulness and generosity during our first visit at the City BBQ in West Chester
  • Your follow up between that first meeting and our event
  • You and your team’s punctuality in bringing the food for the reception
  • You and your staff’s generous offer to assist with things when you arrived
  • Delicious food

I will highly recommend anyone to use City BBQ for catering events and particularly to work with you.  The day was one of the best days our my wife and I’s life; thank you for the role you played in making it a success.

Sincerely, David Z.

Wedding Show

Success!!!!! The food was a hit! Please thank Marcus – he was great in delivery, contacting me and setting it up.  PROFESSIONALISM to the MAX! Will definitely call you again soon. – Lynn M.

I just wanted to let you know that you guys did an amazing job for our wedding 5/1/15. The food was delicious and the staff that you had work the event were great as well! They performed above and beyond our expectations! I will definitely recommend you guys for friends and future family events! Again, thank you guys!

City Barbeque Hand Carved Brisket Catering BBQ

City BBQ was fantastic. The staff was incredibly friendly and professional. We are very thankful to have had you guys cater our wedding. Thank you so much. It was wonderful!

Thank you again for all the hard work. The crew was so very fun and made our wedding very enjoyable. You can look forward to a rave review from us 🙂

– DJ and Amanda H.

Hosting a party soon? Check out our delicious offerings!

Good Afternoon, This is email is extremely delayed and I apologize for that but I did want to send over a HUGE thank you to the team that helped with our summer picnic back in August. I personally am located out of the Columbus area and love City BBQ so when we started planning our summer picnics up in Lexington Ohio my first thought was to City BBQ. I reached out to Randy who almost immediately responded to my inquiry and answered all my questions. He helped me select the best menu for our outing and was extremely understanding with all my changes and additions at the last minute. The team that was on site was extremely professional, on-time, and the presentation was fabulous. We held an outdoor picnics for around 300+ construction workers so I was a little nervous about either running out of food or it getting cold- neither happened thanks to such a well-seasoned team. The team was fabulous and took care of everything; I was running around making sure the party was going off without a hitch so having such professional individuals handling the most important part of the evening was a breath of fresh air. The owner of the company was extremely happy with the food choice and even commented during the awards of what a fabulous job they did. Please thank them for me and thank Randy. You have a TOP notch team of people and we look forward to working with them again next year if we put on the picnic again. Again I apologize for the extreme delay in this thank you email but it is much deserved!!!
–Kelly N


Although the wedding was outside and we had a raining day, the food made up for it. I heard nothing but excellent reviews from the guests. It was so nice to have a wonderfully tasting hot meal on a cold and rainy day. The gentlemen that worked the event did a fantastic job!!! And Kate Woeste did an excellent job with the prep work and follow up before the wedding. She gave of peace of mind knowing that the food would be taken care of and it was!!

Winnie Mooney did a great job working with me for my daughters wedding reception. Everyone at the reception was very happy with hot food as in many situations the caterer has lukewarm food or undercooked vegetables, etc. A number of friends of mine with sons or daughters getting married in the next year all said they would look at City Barbeque as one of the caterers that they would look at for catering their wedding!


We love City BBQ food and it did not disappoint at our wedding. It was delicious and many people said it was the best wedding food they’ve had. The set up with the cast iron pots was unique and fun. I wasn’t expecting it, but it complemented our venue perfectly. The staff serving at the event was friendly and helpful.

City Barbeque Catering Slider Action Station

No hassle ordering, just gave the number of people and paid. I appreciated the pre-delivery call to verify my order. On-time and professional delivery/set-up. Many compliments on the food. Leftovers still taste good:)


Randy was fabulous! He was very detailed and helped with all my questions and changes. His onsite team was professional and on the ball. The set up was great- multiple people commented on not only how great the food tasted but also how nice everything was displayed. I personally loved the cast iron pots. The owner of our company was extremely happy with everything! Thanks for everything and I look forward to working together again down the road.

“My audience is OVER the typical catered lunch of sandwiches and pizza. They truly appreciate something different, delicious, and going the extra mile. City Barbeque does just that. I called, placed an order, and didn’t have to worry about a thing. It all just got taken care of. It’s more expensive than sandwiches or pizza, but sometimes, it just doesn’t matter, it’s the quality and the lasting impression that makes it worth it.”
–Tammi K


“From the first time I called to when it was all finished. Everyone on the phone was amazing Sarah was great on the phone helped me with what we will need and what is best to have. To the delivery girl(Sorry forgot her name) who dropped it off everyone has been so nice and helpful. I will definitely call you all again. To do another lunch in for us…. The food was great. Everyone had a great time and got full.. Thank you again.”
–Fawn B.

“We would like to thank the team at City Barbeque for a job well done. All of our training classes and instructors were very pleased with the food and service.”
–Sandy D.

“The food and the service – they swoop in, set everything up and then you get all these compliments on the great food you’ve served – what could be better?”
–Cynthia K.

“Dependability of the food, delivery and set up. We have used other restaurants for lunches and none compare to the reliability of City BBQ”
–Cindy P.

“The staff was beyond amazing. Not only were they all very professional, they were also personable and friendly. I cannot say enough about how pleased we were.”
–Avon V.

“The staff loves City BBQ and there is a ‘no hassle’ experience when I order.”
–Brenda W


“The food, staff and ordering ease is great…the one thing for us is the delivery convenience and set up of the food! We can always depend on City BBQ to deliver excellence! Thanks much!”

“Thank you guys again for coming through yesterday with the last minute order of 75 people (literally in one hour). Everyone LOVED the food and a few actually said, “Why do we change up on BBQ places, just use City everytime!” Thank you SO much!”
–Laurie C.

“I can’t even say enough about your team and how great they were. From working with Laurie to work out the details of what we wanted for the party to Jeremiah’s communication the day of and the awesome set up. Not to mention that everyone raved about how good the food was. The value was incredible! You provided everything down to the bags of ice we needed. Your team is awesome!!! Jeremiah was so great to work with. On a day when I was so stressed out he came in with a smile and introduced himself and set everything up! I mean everything. It was so great and such a relief not to have to worry about the food for the party. My sister in law is already planning on using you for her step son’s graduation next year. You made a huge impression on everyone there. Hats off to your team!!!!!!!”
–Yvonne V.

“From beginning to end the quality and service provided was top notch. Thank you for making the catering experience easy and delicious!”
–Laura R.

“There is so much value and professionalism that you offer – from always adding a little bit extra (we had plenty) to the quiet and respectful way in which the food was delivered and set up while our meeting was in session with no intrusion or interruption! Well Done!”
–Dale C.


“Working on an industrial site is sometime difficult to coordinate. City BBQ’s team has always been really flexible working around the uniqueness of our needs when it comes to set up and delivery. They are always prompt and friendly. The food is always hot & delicious–and they always make sure to call and touch base before the event so that they make sure everyone’s on the same page. They are definitely the crowd favorite and we will continue to use them. A special thanks to the catering manager Greg and his team members Elizabeth & Theresa. You did such a wonderful job, setting up for a group of 250+ is not easy, but you made it look that way!”
–Danielle C.


“The person who delivered the food was extraordinarily nice and friendly. She really was taking pride in the food and the set up. She also brought us one or two things we hadn’t thought of. Very nice experience.”
–Laurie B.


“The catering manager I worked with was most accommodating, he even took my orders over the weekend and was very prompt with his reply and invoice information. The delivery drivers were extremely courteous and most helpful. And of course the food was great! Everyone was happy to see that they had a lunch provided by City BBQ. Just a quick note, a VP for Macy’s New York attended my event and complemented me for having such wonderful food. Who would’ve thought!”


“The entire setup team and young men working at the action stations were excellent; friendly, helpful, professional! Great service! As mother of the groom and host of the rehearsal dinner, I thank you. I received so many compliments from the guests and more importantly my son who was getting married :)”
–Lisa C


“Overall experience from start to finish was incredible. Your employees are extremely friendly and professional. The set up of our order and presentation of the food was beyond what I expected. I don’t remember the name of who delivered our order but he was so very nice. Thank you so much we will use you again!”
–Julie D.


“The gentleman that delivered the food was very courteous and professional. You could tell that he took his job seriously and went over and above to make sure we were properly set up and satisfied with his service. This employee deserves recognition for the service that he provided to our event! Thank you to the entire team. The whole experience was a great one.”
–Tim P.


“The staff was so kind since it was a memorial service meal for my mom I was grateful The food was great and arrived on time with all we had asked to be included. It made a difficult day easier as I did not have to worry about quality or quantity of the food.”
–Annie M.


“I ordered lunch for our employees to celebrate both the sales and service records they made for the store. I ordered enough food for all 85 employees. The food was delivered prompts and set up very quickly. She was very kind and organized. The tables were set up and items were even labeled on the butcher paper that covered the table surfaces. I was impressed with how many little details of service you provide. Your food has outstanding quality and it was served hot. We also had extra food leftover. That is impressive when you have a staff of mostly men. It was wonderful because I was able to send home some chicken and side dishes with the employees for their families. Without a doubt, I am impressed and so are our employees.You strive for excellent customer service just as we do and that shows. Thank you! We will be ordering again!”
–Genevieve S.



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