ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — World champion BBQ pitmaster Thaddeus Denthriff II, is one step closer to moving his Little Nick’s BBQ into the former Rathskeller restaurant.

The Rathskeller, located at 1132 Auburn Street, served German cuisine and closed in 2021 after being in business since 1931. New ownership took it over briefly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winnebago County authorized a $50,000 loan to Denthriff on Thursday, for him to buy new equipment and pay staff.

Denthriff, who owned Little Nick’s BBQ, 3118 Auburn Street, was part of a competitive cooking team that won “Best Beef in the World” at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest.

The team placed three times in the cooking competition; 2nd place in vinegar BBQ sauce, 2nd place in Whole Hog, and 1st place World Championship in Beef.

Denthriff is a 4th generation pitmaster. He has lived in Rockford for more than a decade, and just opened up Little Nick’s BBQ last February.

Little Nick’s BBQ recently partnered up with Loves Park’s “The Bubble Hive” and has a food truck rolling around Rockford selling BBQ and cannabis-infused BBQ sauces.