Rudy’s SmokeHouse will close its Bechtle Avenue location Sunday after serving pulled pork, chicken and other comfort foods to customers for five years there.
The restaurant had a five-year lease on the location at 1920 Bechtle Ave., but will instead look to reopen in a separate location in a shopping center on the north side of town, said owner Rudy Mosketti on Monday. The Rudy’s Smokehouse location at 2222 S. Limestone St., will remain open, and will honor coupons from the Bechtle store.
The lease for the Bechtle Avenue Restaurant was becoming too expensive, Mosketti said, and negotiations are under way to open a new location on the north side of the city as early as this spring.
Once open, the new location would serve as a traditional dine-in restaurant, but it could also offer a delivery menu for customers as well. The staff from the Bechtle Avenue location will be able to move to the new location once it opens, he said.
“We think delivery is a real key as an alternative to the current segment,” Mosketti said. “Basically, delivery is owned by pizza, and we feel that we can package and price value of the barbecue to feed families, parties and be a competitor in that delivery business.”
Mosketti declined to discuss specifics about the new location other than to say negotiations have started.
“If we’re successful with that, we’ll be in there sooner rather than later,” Mosketti said.
Customer demands are changing, Mosketti said, and more residents are looking for a casual meal that is affordable but is not necessarily fast food.
He said the barbecue restaurants are a good match. The meat on the restaurant’s menu cooks for a minimum of 10 hours but can be served relatively fast for lunch and dinner customers.
“We have comfort food, and we have good food served fast,’ Mosketti said.
Mosketti also owns the former Perkins Restaurant at 2531 E. Main St. that closed last year, as well as a Perkins Restaurant at 2200 N. Limestone St. He said he is still seeking potential new tenants at the East Main Street site and could have a new restaurant in place within the first quarter of this year.