M&B smokehouse brand to go head-to-head with Hickory's

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: Barton
Image credit: Barton

Related tags Hickory's Greene king Mitchells & butlers Smokehouse Multi-site pub operators BBQ

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is looking to go head-to-head with Greene King with the launch of their take on a smokehouse brand.

The first new brand launch from M&B since Miller and Carter, the company’s Orleans Smokehouse opens in Solihull this month, offering an “authentic Southern experience”.

The site will be opening up just a couple of miles from a soon to open site from established brand Hickory’s Smokehouse, part of the Greene King business, and an operation the M&B business bears a remarkable resemblance to.

Hickory’s has been offering “an authentic taste of the Southern States” for nearly 15 years since its inception, ironically at a former M&B site, the Old Orleans, in Chester.

The company, which was invested in by Greene King in 2022, now has 20 restaurants across the North-West, Midlands, Yorkshire, Nottingham & North Wales and prior to the GK deal held discussions with M&B over a possible sale.

Now M&B is looking to directly challenge the established business with its first site in Solihull, a converted Harvester business, with a menu based around American BBQ and smokehouse foods, featuring considerable overlap with the Hickory’s offering.

Hickorys vs Orleans

A spokesman for Hickory’s said: “They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and so we’d like to wish M&B all the best with their latest venture.

“They’re perhaps 15 years late to the party - our first road trip was in 2009, and we’ve been back every year since. Seems strange to limit yourself to one state when you can celebrate all the Southern States! Either way we’re looking forward to trying their take on New Orleans classic’s like crawfish & beignets.”

A spokesman for M&B said: ““Mitchells & Butlers is proud to be launching Orleans Smokehouse, inspired by Old Orleans one of our famous historical brands. 

“The decision on where to invest is a complicated decision, taken over a long period of time, based on the location of potential sites from our existing portfolio, the suitable demographics in a local area, the cost of the investment, planning constraints and many other factors. Solihull is a great location which met our criteria and was ready for investment.” 

M&B’s first Orleans Smokehouse will open in Solihull on 19th February in the same week as Hickory’s Smokehouse.

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