Bay Area KC’s BBQ is permanently closed after 55 years

KC’s BBQ, a permanent Berkeley facility, has closed its doors permanently after five decades.

The Kansas City-style barbecue restaurant closed Wednesday after a period of financial struggle, according to A.J Instagram Video shared by Kristin Davis, 3rd generation owner. She added that the closure was “long overdue”.

“We’ve thrived as a family for the last 50 years, but it took a lot of us…to really turn a profit,” said Davis.

Davis said NBC Bay Area The decision to close KC’s restaurant earlier this month cited the state of the economy, declining customers and staff retention issues as concerns that factored in the family’s closing.

Kristen Davis, owner of KC’s BBQ in Berkeley, California, stands in front of the restaurant on June 14, 2021. Davis cited financial problems as the reason for closing the restaurant.

Patricia Chang/Exclusive to SFGATE

KC’s BBQ first opened at 2613 San Pablo Ave. in 1968 under the direction of first generation family owner, Vernell Davis. Before opening his famous restaurant, Vernell threw a party at a local restaurant, which also served Kansas City-style barbecue, after graduating from Berkeley High School. In the end, he would save up enough money to buy out the company.

The Davis family’s next owner was Vernell’s son Patrick, who ran the restaurant and ran the barbecue pit for 35 years until his daughter Christine took over in 2017. That same year, A fire forced the Davis family to move KC’s BBQ moved to its current home at 1235 San Pablo Ave.

Running a brick-and-mortar business has become challenging, Kristen said in her Instagram video, but after a much-needed break, the Davis family hopes to revive KC barbecue, albeit in a new format. NBC told Bay Area that KC’s BBQ could return as a pop-up, debut as a food truck or sell sauces and seasonings in retail stores.

“We are in a transitional space,” Christine said on Instagram. “The recipes will never die. Barbecue sauce and the bindings and seasonings—these are the things we have and want to share. It’s not the end of it.”

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