FLETCHER — Every small town needs a good barbeque joint.
In 2019, Rasty Weaver saw a rare opportunity when he showed up to do some dirt work for the owner of the old Fletcher Icehouse on Cole Street. The Icehouse is a historic building and has been used over the years for making and selling ice, selling salt, processing animals and renting cold storage lockers for families to store large amounts of meat.
Weaver made an on-the-spot offer without even talking to his wife Carla, a local real estate agent for Century 21. With the threat of demolition, Weaver decided to save the building and its history by starting a barbeque business. Initially, Weaver cooked meat and served it out of his red trailer parked on the premises. After a few months, he moved operations into the building.
“What makes the barbeque so good?” Rasty asks, “The love is in the rub.”
Rasty is Texan by birth, and it shows in the flare of his food. Each brisket is smoked for 16 hours on one of two custom grills. Rasty said he sells a lot of brisket nachos made with his homemade cheese sauce. His signature homemade barbeque sauce is made with 17 ingredients. He goes through about five gallons of sauce per day. Customers take it home on the side, in cups and in jars.
Prior to running the barbeque business, Rasty operated his own construction company, which he mostly handed over to his sons as he reached retirement age. Rasty is careful to keep his barbeque venture enjoyable. In fact, he went from opening three days a week to just one and has turned down catering events to keep a good work-life balance. Carla operates a small gift shop inside the Icehouse, selling clothing, gifts and mugs. Out back, a lighted patio features a small stage and space for children to run around. Several bands have played there. Many customers stay for the music; some get to-go food and run.
Rasty and Carla met in Texas, but moved to Fletcher to be near her family, who has lived in Fletcher for three generations. Her grandfather, Barney Blue, moved to the area in the early 1900s and worked as a farmer and rancher who likely used the Icehouse regularly. No doubt, the pair will continue to help keep Fletcher’s history alive through their restoration and reuse of the Icehouse.
If you stop by, ask to see the old pump well on-site. It is thought to tap into the natural spring water beneath the site which was used for making ice. Numerous customers have recounted stories of visiting the natural spring or locker plant as children. Carla recalls going as a child to the locker plant with her parents to get a week’s worth of meat at a time.
The well is just one of several spots which guests use to take pictures. In fact, the 2021 Fletcher Class Kings and Queens used the site to take pictures before a royal procession in the parade. Rasty said people take pictures there all the time, and he welcomes it.
Rasty’s Barbeque operates from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays as well as most Saturdays for catering special events like wedding and showers. They currently offer outdoor seating and to-go orders. Besides his wife, Rasty has two others who help with the business — a high school student and a niece.
Future business plans include hosting charity poker runs and building rental cottages on the property. The rentals will be open for wedding parties or others looking to stay locally.
For more information, follow Rasty’s regularly on Facebook, or call (580) 549-4066. Custom orders are welcome.