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Old 05-09-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
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dreaming

I live in a small town with a dying main street but a vibrant community. There is an old bar for sale for ~$55,000. I have been toying for some time with putting together a BBQ place in that old bar. Maybe be open 1-2 days per week. Kind of like a hobby farm.

I wonder - keeping in mind that I'm not really all that serious, yet - what sorts of experiences any of you may have with this kind of set up? Where are the hidden fees and expenses? What works and what sucks about having your own BBQ place? What are the reasons for NOT doing something like this?
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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Getting everything past the local HD rules and regs and getting the use of smokers approved may be the death of your dreams.

In town use of evacuation hoods and smoke / fire suppression can cost an arm and a leg to have fitted if they're not already up to code.

The HD would be the first place I'd start looking to the answers to these questions.

There are lots of places that only cook 3 or 4 days a week.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:21 PM   #3
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The places I have observed that are successful do a no frills business. Most of the success seems to come from take out, and bulk meat by the pound keeps em lined up out the door! I'd go with a few wooden picnic tables, no tablecloths. Serve on butcher paper. Have it cafeteria style to keep employees to a minimum. Sell bagged chips and iced tea. whitebread or buns. When you are out of meat, close for the day the way Sonny Bryans in Tejas does. Don't do it if you need to make a living off of it initially. Simple and good . Don't try and offer 5 sides, desssert, coffee, veggies, etc. If I was going to do it. I would find another person willing to share duties. One guy comes in at midnite and fires up the pit and puts the meat on, and cooks the beans (a must with bbq). The second guy comes in at around 11 am and serves the lunch and dinner crowd. Close by 7:00 pm . If you are good and there is a market, people will figure out how to get your food while you are open. Buy a good electric slicer and use it on both the pork and brisket. Make the place an offbeat, homey BBQ "Shack." There are some damn good ones in NC and Tejas that look like crap but have some GREAT BBQ! Just my ramblings. Good Luck

ps. What part of Iowa? That description reminds me of...Fairfield, Mt Pleasant, Burlington, Dubuque, Davenport, .............
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:01 AM   #4
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For someone from the Cleveland area who's advice is seldom followed, I have to say that sounds pretty reasonable.

Boston in 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B
For someone from the Cleveland area who's advice is seldom followed, I have to say that sounds pretty reasonable.

Boston in 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think Boston in 6!
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodman
The places I have observed that are successful do a no frills business. Most of the success seems to come from take out, and bulk meat by the pound keeps em lined up out the door! I'd go with a few wooden picnic tables, no tablecloths. Serve on butcher paper. Have it cafeteria style to keep employees to a minimum. Sell bagged chips and iced tea. whitebread or buns. When you are out of meat, close for the day the way Sonny Bryans in Tejas does. Don't do it if you need to make a living off of it initially. Simple and good . Don't try and offer 5 sides, desssert, coffee, veggies, etc. If I was going to do it. I would find another person willing to share duties. One guy comes in at midnite and fires up the pit and puts the meat on, and cooks the beans (a must with bbq). The second guy comes in at around 11 am and serves the lunch and dinner crowd. Close by 7:00 pm . If you are good and there is a market, people will figure out how to get your food while you are open. Buy a good electric slicer and use it on both the pork and brisket. Make the place an offbeat, homey BBQ "Shack." There are some damn good ones in NC and Tejas that look like crap but have some GREAT BBQ! Just my ramblings. Good Luck

ps. What part of Iowa? That description reminds me of...Fairfield, Mt Pleasant, Burlington, Dubuque, Davenport, .............
I'll try and get some pics of the place soon. It's a dump and the guy who owns it lives there. He is a community nuisance. He has threatened to poison the local water supply, takes pics of locals and puts them on the internet, and recently went to jail for several days for threatening a 14 year old. Needless to say the community leaders want him gone. I'm going to meet with some today. The main player is the owner of the town bar - two doors down - who is leading a campaign top elect a new sheriff because she is so mad about how this nut has been dealt with. I'm considering asking her to team up with me. I'm sure - at the very least - that any zoning issues or other issues at the city level will be dealt with easily. However, the HD is another issue.

The place lists for $55,000. I think I'm going to offer something in the area of $40,000 and see where things go from there.

BTW, my wife loves the idea - for now

You mention Davenport and Dubuque. I'm pretty close to both places.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:32 AM   #7
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Here are some pics

http://s283.photobucket.com/albums/kk28 ... 9_1000.jpg

http://s283.photobucket.com/albums/kk28 ... 9_1001.jpg

http://s283.photobucket.com/albums/kk28 ... 9_1002.jpg
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:25 AM   #8
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I see in the first pic Larry can get into the joint. That place has barbecue written all over it. I LIKE IT!
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigs On The Wing BBQ
That place has barbecue written all over it. I LIKE IT!
+1

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Old 05-10-2008, 11:41 AM   #10
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I looked very seriously at starting a joint, several times...asked
one guy how to be successful...he said..

You know how to get a little money in the restaurant business?
Start out with a lot of money.
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