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End of an era as Utah BBQ mainstay to close after nearly 30 years

Sugarhouse BBQ - three meat plate (Gastronomic SLC)

Sad news this week as Sugarhouse BBQ has announced plans for their impending closure. Posting to Facebook and Instagram the restaurant offered the following information:

SugarHouse BBQ is closing its doors. Our last day will be mid-August. From Red Bones to SugarHouse BBQ it’s been a pleasure serving this community over the last 26 years! To our employees past and present, thank you. You helped form and create who we are and we couldn’t have done it without you.”

The news came seemingly out of the blue for long-time fans who took to social media to understand the announcement. No official reason for the closure was provided leaving online well-wishers to speculate, many recognizing the difficulties of the ongoing road work surrounding 21st South; something I wrote about last year in some detail. Originally located around the corner on 7th East, the business moved to its present location back in 2013 – indeed that move was one also spurred by local transportation construction.

The restaurant first lit the flames back in 1996, originally known as Red Bones, with a focus on Memphis-style barbeque; an approach that eschews lashings of sweet saucing in favor of showcasing the nuances of dry rub. The restaurant offered most of the typical standbys, ribs through brisket, with a particularly juicy turkey that was always a crowd pleaser for my money. You can see it pictured top, in a particularly greedy plate I piled for myself.

Speaking of sauces, I’d long been an admirer of their lineup – one that offered substantially more than sweet, sweeter, and sweetest. A sharp cayenne hot sauce sat alongside a golden mustard sauce while SBBQ’s Carolina pig sauce was also a standout – a cider vinegar base helping enliven the slow-smoked pork.

At this time the restaurant has only offered “mid-August” for their planned closure. With that in mind, if you’d like to raise a rib with the crew and reminisce, my advice would be to act swiftly before the month’s end. And also grab a couple of bottles of their sauces to go…

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9 thoughts on “End of an era as Utah BBQ mainstay to close after nearly 30 years”

  1. This news brought tears to my eyes. SugarHouse Barbecue is a staple in the community and we eat there regularly. Great environment for a quick lunch or treating the family to dinner. Very very sad. Assuming that all of the road construction in this area had something to do with the owners decision; very hard to get around in SugarHouse right now and don’t know of anyone that is happy with the situation. Encourage the community to eat there soon.

  2. Interesting that they did not try and sell it. Most local iconic brands that survive, when the owners want to retire they sell it.

    Rent rates and operations costs are clearly up across the board for restaurant operators.

  3. Honestly the quality has not been the same for years. I met my brother their for years and years and after he passed away I went the to honor his memory and hardly touched the food we always got the same plate and but after that last visit I never returned. I’m sad for whatever happened there that made the quality of food and service drop so significantly because it use to be a place of happy memories.

  4. Dang. See I thought they already went out of business. After reading this article, I realized they moved just slighlty east of where they used to be. My entire friend group used to go there ALL THE TIME. None of us knew they just moved and didn’t go out of business. I have hundreds of friends and we all used to go. How did NONE of us know they just moved!? Our group was probably one of the if not the biggest group that kept them in business. This makes me sad.

  5. This is really too bad. I think the construction on 21st south coupled with the fact of having to temporarily close during Covid really affected the ownership financially.
    I Always thought they had the best wings and enjoyed going there with my family after Utah football games or getting takeouts to watch an Utah game.

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