From time to time, I venture off the beaten paths — Range Line Road and Main Street — to write about places that people need to know about.
The closing next month of Big R's Bar-B-Q, 1220 E. 15th St., is something you need to know about.
It's been a mainstay on East 15th Street for the past 22 years thanks to the hard work of Twyla Housh and her family. The restaurant is not closing because of financial reasons. It has sales of well over $1 million annually.
The restaurant is closing, Housh said, "because we want to change the narrative. We have been very successful, and we want to thank our customers for that. But my mother, who is 67, and I have been working on our feet every day of the week for the past 22 years. It's become a grind. Life is too short to work this hard.''
So the family is taking a break from the grind. The restaurant will close on Saturday, July 18. After that, the family is looking forward to some well-earned vacation time. After Labor Day, the family will regroup and do one of the things they do best — make delicious pies. The pies made at Big R's are top sellers at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Housh said the restaurant could go on, but "the business environment for restaurants is changing. We cut our own steaks. That meat was costing us $3.93 per pound. It has been as high as $11.33 per pound. We needed four different menus to reflect the price increases.''
You can add to that the complications caused by COVID-19 and the difficulty that restaurants have attracting reliable help.
"We are going to make pies. We know the cost of a pie,'' she said.
Housh said she also wants us to know this: "People need to know we are leaving in a positive way. This will be good for our family.''
If you have a gift card to Big R's, Housh encourages you to use it before the closing. There is a possibility a gift card could be used to buy a pie, but that will be well into the future.
"We didn't want to be one of those places that closes up and leaves you with a gift card you can't use. If you have a Big R's gift card, you need to use it now,'' she said.
Speaking of gift cards, if you have a gift card to Logan's Roadhouse, 209 N. Range Line Road, you might want to find it. It appears the restaurant is reopening after being closed since early April.
I visited the restaurant last week when I noticed that someone had turned on the restaurant's red neon lights and that people were standing outside of the restaurant. One of those people told me the restaurant would be reopening on Monday. I could not confirm that with a representative of Logan's, so it might be best if you check the restaurant's Facebook page or call before you go.
In April, a spokesman for the company said the plan was to reopen Logan's Roadhouse and Old Chicago restaurants that have closed around the country and to rehire employees who were recently terminated. Both chains are owned by CraftWorks Holdings, with headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. The company, in addition to the Logan's Restaurant at 209 N. Range Line Road, has an Old Chicago restaurant at 3320 S. Range Line Road. That restaurant has reopened.
CraftWorks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 3, having previously closed about three dozen "underperforming" locations around the country. Three weeks later, COVID-19 hit.
There are 261 restaurant locations under those brands around the country, although more than 70 of those are franchise locations that are not affected by the bankruptcy. The Joplin stores are company-owned. The company employs anywhere from 60 to 75 employees per restaurant.
The July First Thursday ArtWalk will take place online again this month.
The art walk will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the First Thursday ArtWalk Joplin Facebook page. This month will feature prerecorded artist interviews hosted by Joplin Regional Artist Coalition board member Andrew Batcheller. Artists to be featured are Steve and Valerie Doerr, Angel Brame, Melody Knowles, Al Gritten and Sandra Parrill.
The Urban Art Gallery will feature painter Lou Stine with her show "Indomitable Women.'' The Joplin Avenue Coffee Co. will feature painter Helen Kunze with her show "Hindsight.'' Club 609 will host artist Charlotte Enos with her paintings. All shows will be up for the month of July at their locations.
There will be performances by The Durbins, Dawn Sticklen and Patti Johnson. There also will be a silent auction art fundraiser at Spiva Center for the Arts and a video of the upstairs gallery showing the works of local photography enthusiasts.
If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.