BBQ Supply Co. in Rogers Park is officially closed for good, ending an eight-year-run, said owner Jared Leonard. It’s been about a month since the restaurant shut its doors. Leonard, who has moved to Denver to open restaurants, said it was too hard to operate the Rogers Park restaurant without living in Chicago. He also announced that he’s reopening the Lincoln Square location of his Budlong Nashville hot chicken chain, hoping to be back in business in January on Western Avenue.
A second BBQ Supply Co. location, which debuted last year in Hyde Park, will continue to operate. Opened by Leonard and wife Amanda, the Rogers Park restaurant at 6954 N. Western Avenue had been open since 2010, originally as Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse. Ownership changed its name in March 2017. It was their first restaurant. Leonard went on to start the Budlong hot chicken chain. He’s also started to serve smoked meats at Soldier Field during Bears games.
But Leonard has good news with the Budlong’s reopening in Lincoln Square. The fast-casual space at 4619 N. Lincoln Avenue had been closed since September. Leonard, at the time, said it closed due to slow foot traffic. He went into more detail on Tuesday morning, saying the restaurant closed after losing its manager. They couldn’t find an adequate replacement. The Budlong’s since moved its commissary — where it handles catering orders — to the Lincoln Square space. A few staffing additions have made it easier to reopen, according to Leonard.
The Rogers Park barbecue spot holds sentimental value to Leonard. It was the foundation for his restaurant company, Stone Soup Collective. Leonard hosted barbecue classes at the location. Financially, the restaurant was doing well, Leonard said. But being away from Chicago and busy on other projects made it difficult to continue.
Speaking of projects, Leonard did not provide an update on his Uptown food hall. He announced Beacon Street Market in 2017.