Italian makes way for BBQ
DiFederico's Lampost in New Paris, Ohio, transforms into Baumbach's Pit Barbeque
By Don Fasnacht Staff writer
NEW PARIS, Ohio -- A landmark restaurant here has a new name and a new flavor.
The new name for DiFederico's Lampost is Baumbach's Pit Barbeque.
The new flavor is what the name indicates -- barbecue.
Both the new name and the new flavor reflect the passions of the new owner -- Tom Baumbach.
Trained as a chef, Baumbach has spent much of his working life in the world of corporate produce.
But now he has a place to share his taste for spicy meats that reflect much of America.
"After 37 years, I came back to what I wanted to do," Baumbach said about owning a restaurant.
Baumbach started his dream two years ago when he opened a barbecue pit out of a trailer parked near the Five Points intersection in Eaton.
The Eaton carryout continues. "We'll cut back on the hours some," Baumbach said.
But most of his attention will be focused on sustaining and building the clientele that have visited the restaurant on the south edge of New Paris that has been around since 1945.
Joe DiFederico, Uncle Joe to most, started it. The name was held through subsequent owners because of the business that built up over the years and the special spaghetti sauce and 3.2 beer.
Generations of 18-year-old Hoosiers slipped across the state line to quaff some 3.2 beer, a less potent beer that was at one time available to people at age 18, three years before they were allowed the sample a sip of sin in their home state.
During those teenage years, DiFederico's Lampost was the place they came if they had a date. It was a more upscale than most of the smoky bars that catered to the interstate bar business. Baumbach's place is smoke free.
As those youngsters grew older, they brought their spouses back to the Lampost for a quiet night out and a good dinner.
"There are a lot of tales," Baumbach said.
But Baumbach is beginning to build his own tales.
"I've had my first engagement," Baumbach said. "We took their picture and hung it on the wall."
The décor of the restaurant remains much the same under the new management, but it will probably change gradually.
"I'm more western," Baumbach said, in keeping with his menu.
But barbecue isn't all western and Baumbach likes it all.
He's introducing Texas brisket. "That's something you don't usually see around here," Baumbach said. "I've had Texans come up and with tears in their eyes and say it reminds them of home."
The ribs have the tang of St. Louis and Memphis and the pulled pork will have sauces from the Carolinas.
Baumbach has installed a southern style outside barbecue pit behind the restaurant where all of the meat is slow cooked over hardwood fires.
Slow cooking is the key to true barbecue, Baumbach said. The wood adds to the flavor.
He made a quick trip to Florida just to bring back a load of pecan wood to add to the authenticity.
Baumbach grew up on a cattle ranch in Florida, but his career and his interests have taken him all over the country where he tasted and learned about the varieties of barbecue.
He settled in Eaton when he was transferred to the Dayton operation of his corporate world.
And now he seems to have found his calling.
"It's lot of work," Baumbach said, "long, hard work. But I'm having fun."
Reporter Don Fasnacht: (765) 973-4483 or email@example.com
Originally published April 24, 2006