August hasn’t been kind to barbecue restaurants in Johnson County.
During the early hours of Aug. 11, an accidental kitchen fire started at the Gates Bar-B-Q at 2001 W. 103rd Terrace in Leawood. The location, off State Line Road, opened in the ‘70s.
Firefighters got the blaze under control around 1:05 a.m. but it left $50,000 in damage, said Jarrett Hawley, a spokesman for the Leawood Fire Department.
Then, on Aug. 17, Q39 at 11051 Antioch Road in Overland Park followed suit.
At 10 p.m., employees evacuated the building after accidentally puncturing a gas line.
While Q39 reopened Sunday, the lights are still off at Gates. It’s unclear when the restaurant will be up and running — Bianca Gates, a spokeswoman for the restaurant, couldn’t say.
A statement Gates provided to The Star reads in part:
“The Gates Bar-B-Q Family thanks you for your continued patronage and support. We will get his location back open to serve you as soon as possible.”
Gates, a 77-year-old Kansas City institution, has faced fires at other locations in the past few years.
In 2020, a grease fire broke out at the 3205 Main St. location. In 2015, a fire damaged the 1221 Brooklyn Ave. restaurant’s roof. The last fire at the Leawood location was in 2011.
Are barbecue restaurants fire prone? Perhaps, said Jason Rhodes, a spokesman for the Overland Park Fire Department.
Smokers running long hours may contribute to accidental flames.
In 2021, another barbecue restaurant, Wyandot Barbecue at 7215 W. 75th St., closed for several months after a fire.
“It’s certainly not uncommon to see fires at restaurants, especially barbecue restaurants,” Rhodes said. “We aren’t seeing a tremendous amount of them, but they occasionally happen.”