In 2016, the catering arm of Shorty’s True American Roadhouse began to branch out on its own. A part of the Mancy’s family of restaurants, the newly dubbed Shorty’s Back Forty Catering took up residence at the former Star Bar and Grille on Monroe St.
Over the course of four years, the business has grown in popularity under the guidance of owner-operator Nick Mancy. The catering business was affiliated with Shorty’s, and Nick was still a partner in all the Mancy’s family businesses. Earlier this year, Nick decided it was time for Back Forty to begin taking steps to strike out on its own, partially in an effort to streamline his own responsibilities.
“I was diagnosed with cancer last year, so I’ve been battling [for] 16, 18 months now,” Nick said. “And as I was coming back, [I] finished my radiation, surgery and then chemotherapy. I just wanted to narrow my focus as far as all the businesses I was involved with. I wanted to concentrate on catering, to simplify my life a little bit. I enjoy the catering aspect of what we’re doing. I’ve pretty much been involved in the catering full-time ever since we split it off in 2016. So it just seemed like a natural progression to throw all my eggs into that basket and run with that.”
On his own
The sign on the building still says “Shorty’s Back Forty,” but the name is now officially The Back Forty Catering Commissary and Event Center, or just Back Forty Catering. The split from the family business was completely amicable, and Nick’s still close with his partners and brothers. “Everyone was super supportive. My partners were very supportive of breaking apart the businesses. They understood where I was coming from and after the last 17 years, I really didn’t want to go back to working 60, 70 hours a week. I wanted to have a little more control over my life and this seemed like the best way to do it.”
Even though Nick is now working outside of the Mancy family businesses, he notes that he had already been working autonomously. “There’s a different kind of pressure on me, being a sole proprietor. But when you have partners, you want to make sure that they’re happy, too, so I guess it’s kind of taken a little pressure off.”
A new menu
The Back Forty Event Center on Monroe St. is beautiful, with an indoor space and bar that can accommodate 150 people and a full patio area, as well. Back Forty Catering also sells bulk food by the pound and offers live grill catering at off-site events.
There have also been additions to the business since the split. A new food truck was rolled out this year with a full kitchen allowing travel to events. And an expanded menu, offering new options for diners — prime rib, salmon, Greek-style chicken. “Before we were strictly barbeque— pulled pork, chicken, ribs. But we’ve expanded our offerings. And I think the fact that we’re doing our own thing over here now is giving us more time to get a little more creative with the menu,” Nick said.
Though COVID hit and curtailed some aspects of business not long after the split became official, things have begun to pick up for Back Forty. Nick assures customers that the flavors they’ve loved for years are still waiting for them. “We’re adhering to all of the original Shorty’s recipes and techniques. So the foods that aren’t the new items, the tried and true— the ribs, the pulled pork, our sides and brisket and everything— we’re sticking to the original Shorty’s recipes.”
5215 Monroe St. | 419-724-7901