GULFPORT, FL — Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ, a local favorite, has abruptly shut its doors for good in Gulfport.
The restaurant shared news of its closure Saturday on its Facebook page, letting its followers know that Sunday would be its last day in business.
“It is with mixed emotions, after 13 years of fun times serving our community, my doctors and I have decided it is in my best interest to retire,” owner John Riesebeck and his team posted. “We will be open through this weekend until our supplies run out. It has been a wonderful 13 years and we appreciate all your support throughout the years. You will be missed. We have made many friends along the way, and for that we are truly blessed, but the time has come to retire and enjoy the rest of our lives.”
They also said Smokin’ J’s pickles will soon be available to purchase online and at local grocery stores.
The property that the restaurant has called home since opening in Gulfport was listed for $525,000. A sale is currently pending, according to Coldwell Banker Realty.
Riesebeck started cooking barbecue as a hobby at a competition in Dallas, according to the restaurant’s website. “Soon his hobby turned into a passion and he felt he needed to share this great BBQ with all he came in contact with.”
He brought his barbecue from Texas to South Pasadena, where he sold his food at Ahearn’s Chevron. Eventually, he opened his location at 5145 Gulfport Blvd. S.
Many people commented on the restaurant’s post, thanking them for their food and their support for community organizations over the years.
“This is the best BBQ I have ever tasted,” one follower commented. “So sad to hear of your closing. Take care of yourself just like you have always cared for the community.”
Another wrote, “No doubt the best BBQ around. And also two of the best people one could ever know. John (and) Lisa (your) kindness and compassion to others in their time of need during hardships will never be forgotten. You closed up shop and hauled your trailer with food and supplies to those in need many times over the years, preparing fresh meals for those in need. Thank you for caring for others. Enjoy your new journey and know you guys will never be forgotten.”