Rustic Smokehouse Rebrands to Fort 88 Smokehouse
After months of legal battles with a large restaurant corporation, Fort Atkinson’s Rustic Smokehouse will be changing its name to Fort 88 Smokehouse + Bar.
“As a result of all the amazing online feedback from our customers since our opening, we drew the attention of a large restaurant group who also operates their business with the word ‘Rustic,” in it’s name, states owner Valbon Beqiri. “Although we have proudly fought for over a year to not lose our name, we believe it is time to remove our restaurant from this battle and use this as an opportunity to introduce a new name - one with more meaning to my family and this community.”
While considering new names, Valbon felt it was important to include “Fort” since he is so connected to, and appreciative of, the community that he’s grown up in. “My family moved to Wisconsin in ’88 shortly before I was born. It only seemed appropriate to combine those two aspects of my life into the new name, to pay homage to a city that has given me life-long friendships and a place to build this career that I love.”
The “88"also ties in the historic beauty of local Rustic Road 88 which runs between Highway 12 and Highway N, just southeast of Fort Atkinson. The stretch of road travels through a gently rolling countryside of mixed farm fields and woods, with beautiful barns built close to the road and where in places, large oaks arch over the road.
“When I read the description of Rustic Road 88, it seemed like a perfect tie-in to our space, which features beautiful, old wood and an eclectic mix of rustic materials,”Beqiri States.
The name change is arriving in conjunction with two additional exciting announcements, including expanded hours to serve lunch every day of the week and live music Sunday Fundays throughout the summer. Stay tuned for the full schedule.
“The most important thing through this entire experience is for our customers to know how grateful we’ve been for their support, and that they can continue to expect the same products and same level of quality and hospitality they’ve always received from us,” Beqiri adds. “Our entire staﬀ is looking forward to building new memories at Fort 88 Smokehouse and continuing to provide some of the best food and service in town.”
Fort 88 Smokehouse + Bar will be debuting its new brand in March.