Big Bites in a Small Town: Nellie’s Smokehouse Barbecue in Warren, OH


The holidays usually means family gatherings, reminiscing on old times, and food. Lots and lots of food, in fact. There was certainly no shortage of home-cooked family dinners during my Christmas break. But, my dad wanted me to skip an evening enjoying a home-cooked meal to try a new soul food bar that recently opened in my hometown of Warren, OH.

BBQ signNellie’s Smokehouse Barbecue
2461 Youngstown Rd SE, Warren, OH 44483

This was a big deal. Every year, I only get a few chances to indulge in my dad’s famous barbecue ribs and fried fish, my mom’s greens and honey-baked ham, and other high-calorie, but absolutely worth it guilty pleasures. I did not want to give up a second of home-cooked meals to eat out as I could in Fort Lauderdale regularly anytime I wanted. I could probably eat out anywhere I want as well, from grills in texas to the best restaurants downtown Charlottesville has. But, like everyone else on the planet, my new year’s resolution to get back in the gym didn’t begin until, well, after the new year. So, I threw caution to the wind and decided just to eat out.

I have to say that I am glad I did. My family went to a new place called Nellie’s Smokehouse BBQ in Warren, OH. Now, let me be frank. I am from the smallest of small towns. Our cuisine is less South Beach sophisticate and more Midwest meat and potatoes. However, this place definitely has broken the local mold. Nellie’s Smokehouse BBQ has amazing food with an abundance of flavor. Their menu is a diverse mix of authentic smoked barbecue, classic and whole wings, and local favorites like Reuben sandwiches.


A shot of my nephew looking super annoyed that I paused his meal to play photographer

As diverse as the menu was, almost our entire party chose to order some variety of wings. I had the traditional buffalo wings with fries. The wings had just the right amount of heat and spice to counter the tanginess that’s a staple of buffalo sauce. The fries were cooked and seasoned to perfection. Not too crunchy. Not too soft. Not too salty. Not too bland.


My sister had the bourbon style wings, and we need to talk about this sauce. If you ever wondered if bourbon wings actually contain any alcohol, this recipe answers that question handily. The sauce was one part sweet, one part heat and a few parts bourbon. My sister joked she was getting a shot with each wing. We both loved the flavor, though, and I definitely recommend trying this sauce as a break from the normal buffalo style wings.


If dry wings are your thing, then this place has a treat for you in the form of their ranch dry-rub wings. I have never been a fan of dry wings. However, I have to admit that these almost made me change my mind. The ranch coating wasn’t powdery like it was might have been when I made them at home.


My dad had the Reuben sandwich but did not cooperate in taking a picture. He was hungry. If you ever find yourself in Warren, OH, the smallest of small towns, make a beeline for Nellie’s Smokehouse Barbecue and tell them Brian sent you. He’s my dad, and everyone there is on a first name basis with him. Who says there aren’t perks to small town living?


Just a girl. Who loves food. Meat and potatoes is the traditional midwestern cuisine, but I’m not a typical midwestern kind of girl. I’m from Ohio originally but my father’s Army travels have taken me everywhere from Savannah, GA to Wiesbaden, Germany. Along the way I picked up a love of relocating (I am a Fort Lauderdale native now) and unique cuisines. I call myself the “reluctant foodie” because I ended up trying new foods as a result of health issues. With a clean bill of health now, I still venture out to find the most delicious and interesting cuisines around. I am partial to Italian food and sushi especially. Seafood is my weakness, literally, as I love it so but am deathly allergic to it. I am one of those infamous “can cook but prefers not to” types, but recently I have begun renewing my skills in the kitchen. I am newer to the South Florida area and contributing to Girls on Food has finally given me a reason to venture all over town to find the best food the city has to offer. I love a good “hole in the wall” restaurant with great unexpected food and can’t wait to share the pocket gems with you!


  1. Rosalyn Davis

    January 13, 2016

    Great atmosphere and tasty food.

  2. Kiisha Sanders

    January 13, 2016

    My family LOVES coming to Nellies. The staff is amazing and I can’t get enough of the bbq wings and fries!

    • Tonya Gavin

      January 14, 2016

      Thanks! The restaurant is my brother & sister in law & it’s named after our mom who taught my brothers & I how to cook. I’m pretty sure she’s smiling from heaven & very proud of my brother. Thank you & thanks for the blog & great review ?

      Tonya Gavin

  3. Cherese Gavin

    January 13, 2016

    WOW!! Thanks so much for this wonderful review, my husband and I take pride in making sure we serve great food and have a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I remember your visit and Brian is one of our favorite customers. I’m sure we will see you again when you’re in town! Thank you once again, we are most flattered.

  4. Tracy Steele

    January 14, 2016

    Excellent Barbeque basket !!!!

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