Vermont Street BBQ closing in four days

Vermont St. BBQ closing doors

Vermont St. BBQ is ready to close its doors after five years of business.

Vermont Street BBQ is closing Sunday, as the restaurant’s owner prepares to close a deal for a new business to occupy its downtown location.

Shad Woodworth, who co-founded the restaurant in 2002, confirmed Wednesday that he was getting out of the barbecue business. He plans to take a year off before attending graduate school, then pursue other business opportunities.

“The restaurant is still viable,” said Woodworth, who noted that he was retaining the business’ name, smokers, computer system and related assets. “… I’m ready to move on and try something different.”

Woodworth, who is lead owner of a group that leases the two-story building, declined to discuss what business would be moving in. Two businesses upstairs — Hookah House and Cafe Beautiful — will remain, with their leases intact, he said.

Vermont Street BBQ’s nearly 30 employees, half of them full-timers, learned of the pending closure Tuesday night. Employees will receive one week of severance pay.

Vermont Street BBQ opened in August 2002, in a small storefront at 714 Vt. that had been home to Mojo’s. The BBQ joint then relocated in May 2004, retaining the Vermont Street name while moving into the former home of Paradise Cafe on Massachusetts Street.

Woodworth hopes to sell the restaurant’s naming rights, smokers and other items to someone who wants to keep the signature chicken wings and other favorites smoking somewhere in Lawrence. Many of the restaurant’s other assets — those not directly related to a barbecue operation — will remain, having been purchased by the incoming business.

“It’s like with anything that’s important to you,” he said. “I’ll definitely miss the employees the most, the relationships with that. I’ll miss the customers. A lot of regular customers will be disappointed. I’m extremely thankful for all the customers we’ve had.”


gavon 13 years, 8 months ago

This sucks so bad. I loved Vermont St. dearly. Anybody hear any rumors about what's moving in?

PatrickJoseph 13 years, 8 months ago

I, for one, will miss the smoked chicken wings during KU games.

TecmoSuperBowlChristianOkoye 13 years, 8 months ago

This really sucks. It was a great place to relax and watch a KU game with some good food and beer.

Keith 13 years, 8 months ago

Tuesday nights will never be the same.

Martinez Hillard 13 years, 8 months ago

Heartbreaking. They have a pretty good crew over there these days. Sorry to hear it.

Marcy McGuffie 13 years, 8 months ago

BUMMER! Farewell to those yummy sweet potato fries, mac & cheese bites and smoked chicken wings. Mmmm. I guess I know what's for dinner tomorrow.

First, the band that played my wedding, The Dewayn Brothers, broke up and had their last show this past weekend. Now, the restaurant that catered my wedding, is soon to be a thing of the past. sigh At least my marriage is still intact! Looking for some wood to knock on... ;-)

This sucks.

blturner 13 years, 8 months ago

Last Thanksgiving was the first I'd taken advantage of having a turkey smoked by vt. bbq and it was delicious. I'll be missing that.

13 years, 8 months ago

I had dinner there tonight with a few friends. They said they were going to be open through Sunday or until the food runs out. They also mentioned they would be working on some selling some packs of their sauces for anyone that's interested which should go on sale either Thursday or Friday. I will miss their sauces as much as their food.

Andrew P. Witt 13 years, 8 months ago

I MISSED THE LAST EVER WINGSDAY?! I'm so upset I might vomit.

Kenny Nall 13 years, 8 months ago

It is a sad day for all residents of Lawrence.

Jill Ensley 13 years, 8 months ago

Dammit, Lawrence. Just because I left, doesn't mean you can close all the good places.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.