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Northern 'Burb BBQ Joint Bad Brad's is Built of Barns

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This post authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.

How many barns does it take to build a Bad Brad's BBQ? That's a big joke between partner Mike Pollard and his construction crew. Right now they are about to start in on their fifth old barn that will be used as construction materials for the new Bad Brad's BBQ opening in Shelby Township in May. "Everything in here is made from salvaged materials," Mike says.

Specifically the bar, tables and ceiling of Bad Brad's are all made out of salvaged planks from abandoned old barns. The result is a rainbow of rusty reds and russets, broken up by sheets of molded and distressed steel, reclaimed bricks and concrete blocks, and columns of salvaged crushed concrete enclosed in iron cages.

Mike designed the place himself and has been working on it since July 2011. With the help of Dormouse, a Detroit-based design and metal fabrication group, they came up with a concept that melds modern industrial metalwork with century-old salvaged barn wood from Michigan and Ohio farm country (the original New Baltimore location has a similar theme). The juxtaposition seems to suit the cuisine - barbecue is kind of a get-down-and-dirty food, and it also has a deep history with roots in the American South. Barbecue is cowboys, Everyman and guys named Bubba; if that feeling can be adequately translated into a building, Bad Brad's nails it. It's a little dirty, a little gritty - as the Osmonds might say, it's a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll - but also highly polished.

The space is still in progress. Some of the finishing touches will include a cherry wood veneer chandelier in the front entrance as well as murals running along the wall in the dining area painted by local artist Jesse Kassell (the murals will consist of a pig chart, a cow chart, and a map of the American BBQ country). The bar will feature intricate custom metalwork from Dormouse, including "floating" metal boxes and smoked glass for the liquor bottles. The expansive outdoor patio is also constructed of the same salvaged materials as well as six-ton boulders from Michigan's Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, all set up against the backdrop of a century-old oak tree located on the corner of the patio - which is what drew Mike to this property in the first place.

At the risk of being tarred and feathered smoked and slathered in BBQ sauce, this place has us anxious to forsake Slows for an evening and road trip out to Middle Earth Shelby Township.

· Bad Brad's BBQ [Official]