WALNUT — At the end of May, Chris “Cowboy” Tornow and Tony Vaccaro opened Cowboy and Tony’s Butt Shack BBQ West at the Green River Country Club just outside of Walnut.
Tornow and Vaccaro are friends who went to a Kansas City Chiefs game several years ago where they decided to start pursuing the option of opening a restaurant. Vaccaro has been in the restaurant business for 30 years.
“The dream of Cowboy and Tony’s Butt Shack BBQ started in November 2012 with two ‘fat guys’ in the front seat of a pickup traveling to Kansas City with their wives telling them they are crazy,” the men said. “Here we are 16 months later, and the dream has become a reality.”
Vaccaro has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry while Tornow “Cowboy,” the pit master, loves BBQ and smoking meat.
Cowboy says, “Never trust BBQ from a skinny man.”
After opening Cowboy and Tony’s Butt Shack BBQ in Mendota at 716 Main St. on March 7, the men were approached about opening a restaurant at the Green River Country Club just west of Walnut.
“It was a no brainer for me since I grew up in Walnut,” said Tornow, who now lives in LaMoille. “We serve smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked ham, smoked brats and pork sausage. We have fried potato salad, and the largest platter of onion rings in Bureau County.”
All you can eat tacos are served on Tuesday nights at Walnut. Lunch is served seven days a week. Dinner is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
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