Barbecue comes to Countryside Square


Charla and John Thelen

Photo by Clarke Davis
Charla and John Thelen have recently opened their second Mulligans restaurant in Meriden.


by Clarke Davis

Thelen and his wife, Charla, recently opened a new restaurant in Countryside Square in Meriden.
Mulligans BBQ and Grill has a variety on the short-order menu, but the feature is baby back ribs and smoked ham, turkey, and pulled pork sandwiches.
The smoker is in a tent behind the restaurant — formerly a pharmacy — where the meat cooks for eight to 10 hours over an oak and hickory fire.
While the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. the ribs go on sale at 4 p.m. and when they’re gone they’re gone.
“We intend to sell out. We never keep them over for the next day,” John said.
“We have had a very good reception since we opened,” he noted.
John and Charla hail from Nebraska and Iowa, respectively, and moved to the Lake Perry Golf Course area seven years ago where they operated their first Mulligans. That one is closed but another one, Mulligans on the Lake, has been operating at the Rock Creek Marina for five summers.
Mulligan is a golf term referring to a second chance or free shot in informal play.
John mentioned opening a third one, but Charla was quick to say, “No.” But find the right location and, well, maybe. . .
The business employs about 12 at Meriden and 20 at both places.
“We have a lot of high school and college kids,” John said.
The couple has four children, Abbie, 20, who has just completed courses at Barton Community College, Skye, 13, Hunter, 12, and Brody, 7.
John was elected to the Jefferson West Board of Education in April and will join the board in July.

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