Flint Twp., MI—A new barbecue spot will be joining the bustling Miller Road corridor in 2022.

Mike Lintz, a Flushing High School teacher and the great-grandson of Rube’s Bar founder Rube Lintz, will be transforming the former Flint Township Fuddruckers location at 2373 Austin Place into a fast casual Texas barbecue spot in time for summer.

“Texas-style means simplicity … it’s just about smoking it the right way,” Lintz said of what to expect of his restaurant’s cuisine.

Lintz and his wife Amy Lintz informally started their business, Scratch BBQ & Catering, in 2014 when they offered to help with their church’s luncheon.

“It started off by accident,” Lintz said. “I asked the simple question: well, what are you serving? And they said sloppy joes.” 

Lintz told the lunch organizer the church could save money by offering pulled pork instead—meat which was a third of the price at the time. 

He got the okay and then cooked the meal himself on his old grill. 

“Not even the same process we use now,” he laughed. 

With that, Scratch BBQ & Catering was born.

Following the success of the church luncheon, the Lintzes started getting more and more catering requests. They ended up buying a used smoker within a year and later applied to Flint Food Works, a culinary business incubator that operates out of the Flint Farmers’ Market, to test out their barbecue catering concept on a larger scale.

The old Fuddruckers on Miller Road in the Flint Township on Jan. 6, 2022. The building is proposed to be transformed into a Texas-style barbeque restaurant. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Since then, Scratch BBQ has become its own enterprise, catering Flint-area weddings and banquets spring to fall with the help of a team of seasonal workers.

“I’m excited because we’ve got a great crew of folks that work part time for us with the catering that we’ll be able to offer full time jobs for,” Lintz said of shifting from events to restaurant service—a move he said has been a long time coming for Scratch BBQ. 

Lintz said he and his wife began looking for a building of their own about four years ago, and they have come close to agreements once or twice before.

“Actually the (former) location we were looking at was in the Durant building,” Lintz said. “Then COVID hit and that kind of got put on the back burner.”

So in late 2021, when the former Fuddruckers location came onto the Lintzes’ radar, it felt like circumstances were finally aligned for a move into their own brick-and-mortar.

“It’s got great traffic flow, and it’s a building that’s in great condition,” Lintz said. 

Plus, the pair had been doing plenty of research to prepare. 

They’ve spent time touring famous barbecue spots like Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas and Lewis Barbecue Charleston, South Carolina, talking to staff and managers to learn best practices for a transition from catering to restaurant service.

Furniture pushed to the side in the old Fuddruckers on Miller Road in the Flint Township. Flushing High School teacher Mike Lintz plans to transform the space into a Texas-style barbeque restaurant. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

“Pretty early on we realized that your Texas style barbecue places are really catering to their own restaurants,” Lintz said. “You can’t cook a brisket to order. That’s, you know, a 14 to 18 hour process.”

The Lintzes gained ownership of their new building in late December and have already begun to prepare the space for their fast casual barbecue concept.

“We’re in the process of tearing up the tile floor. We’re going to turn that into polished concrete,” Lintz said. 

They’ve also taken out the space’s drop ceiling to make way for a “spray paint industrial look,” and plan to incorporate a communal seating layout like they’ve seen at other Texas-style barbecue spots.

“Well, there’s always worry in the back of my mind,” Lintz said when asked if the building’s great condition means the pair will be able to stick to their proposed renovation timeline. “But so far I feel confident we’ll be able to open this summer.”

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....