LACEYVILLE, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — 12 counties moved into the yellow phase Friday. Five are in our region.
While that’s good news for some businesses, others, not so much. A popular BBQ restaurant in Wyoming County announced it is closing. For the past month, it’s been difficult for Meat Hooks BBQ to do business. The owners tell Eyewitness News they are being pulled in multiple directions between regulations and the food market.
Customers at Meat Hooks BBQ are putting in their order one last time before the restaurant closes its doors. Lori Lewis and her soon-to-be husband drove from New Jersey only to hear the news.
“I would have been really upset if I drove all the way up here and couldn’t get any BBQ today,” Lori said.
“We’re going to eat it slow,” her fiance said.
While patrons enjoy what this BBQ joint has to offer, “we can’t operate within these criteria,” owner Randy Brigham said.
Brigham and his wife Rene are struggling to put a plan together under Governor Wolf’s re-opening phases. Currently, Wyoming County sits in the yellow phase, making it no different than red for restaurant owners. Even in green, local restaurants and businesses will be restricted to keep customers at half capacity.
“This is what we’re working with. This is what we hear. So it is really hard to operate a business in an environment like that. It does not make sense to keep pushing,” Brigham said.
On top of that, the food supply chain for this business is not making it any easier. Brisket makes up more than 50 percent of business.
There’s not much brisket left and Brigham isn’t able to purchase any more. Over the past month, the cost per pound has more than doubled.
“I certainly can’t raise my price to $22 a pound and meet the same profit margin and expect people to buy it,” Brigham said.
Johnathan Brown is hooked by this place and says he’s disappointed to see it go.
“I felt bad for these guys. I mean they are great for the town and I love…I’ve been coming here I think before it opened. I saw smoke coming out one day and I stopped and said ‘hey what are you doing?’ But I have known these guys for years so it’s pretty disappointing,” Brown said.
Now the owners tell Eyewitness News they plan to close their doors Sunday after all the food is sold. If there is any hope for customers, the Brighams tell Eyewitness News they will watch what happens as the economy reopens and just maybe reopen sometime down the road. But for now, they are saying good.