I See Something no one else sees
news - BBQ News 2007


Dec 2007

There was a building in town that was empty that I thought would make a great BBQ restaurant. It looked like a big ol’ barn from the outside. It was originally a pizza place when it was open in about 1980 and very successful for many years. After about 15 years the business was sold to someone else and failed. Shortly there after, it had been a couple of different restaurants and was last a bar & grill that had closed a couple of years ago. I contacted the landlord to inquire about the building to see if it was a feasible location for a BBQ restaurant. Although it was much larger than I was thinking. I talked with the landlord and really found him to be a jerk, to tell you the truth. I couldn’t imagine even entertaining the idea of entering into a long term deal with this kind of person as a landlord. After that went nowhere, I called a commercial realtor about another area that I though had some potential. He was very good and strait forward and was familiar with restaurants. The economy was beginning to sour and not many people were looking to do what I envisioned. My real estate guy thought BBQ was the right type of restaurant to get into and had ideas and some connections and we went and talked with some landlords and some closed or about to close restaurants. Nothing really sparked me any thoughts maybe we should wait and see what would happen with the economy and QN4U. After all, I had been elected to the CBBQA Board (California Barbeque Association) and was going to be their President for 2008 and that would take some dedication to do that job correctly.

I received a phone call fro the food editor at the Fresno Bee in early December to see what was on the schedule for QN4U for 2008. They had given us good coverage earlier in the year when we won some contests and were involved with some charity events. I mentioned that we were looking at getting into the restaurant business but to no avail as finding a place.

The food editor ran an article the following week about all the restaurants that had closed or went out of business in 2007 in the valley and at the end of the article was a blurb that on positive note QN4U( the barbeque team) was trying to get into a restaurant. Well, the phone started ringing!

I called my real estate guy Andrew. He sorted through the different deals and offers pitched for me and in the process received an odd phone call from the “new” landlord of the old pizza building. He had heard that we had inquired about the building and he just read that article in the Fresno Bee about QN4U wanting a building. We arranged to meet right away to discuss and look at the building on the inside, meet the new landlord and see if we could make a deal. After looking at the building, inside and out, the building was in rough shape beyond cosmetic or simple clean up. This was an issue. I worked on my due diligent, costing and after meeting again we made an offer. The landlord was not responsive and said he had some other offers he was considering. After a few days of no response I started to write this off again. The Landlord requested we submit our financial statements so we could compare them with the other offers he was entertaining. This sort of rubbed me the wrong way, not knowing if he had other offers, what they were, he had not even acknowledge our offer yet. If he didn’t want us in his building or negotiate our offer I wasn’t inclined to submit to his request just yet. Was he just rooting around to see who had the most money?  This was starting to fall apart, again.

A couple of days later, I got a call from Andrew saying that he just got a call from the landlord at the building again and he wants to make a deal. This was sudden and out of the blue. Turns out the guy I had the conversation at the “football game” was the best friend of this new landlord. They had lunch together that day and in their discussion the landlord told his friend that these people wanted that pizza building for a BBQ restaurant but he turned us away. The friend scolded him and tells the landlord to call us back and make the deal. He did call and we made the deal the next day and received the keys Jan 14th at that meeting to solidify the deal. From the phone call from the Fresno Bee to receiving keys from the landlord was about three weeks. The conversation with that gentleman at the football game I’m convinced sealed the deal. So we are in the restaurant business now! It really happened fast, but I was not frightened, I knew what this building should look like and how I wanted to present QN4U BBQ House to the public. Ironically, the name QN4U BBQ House came from a floor plan that I had drawn for another location and under project name the architect wrote “QN4U BBQ HOUSE.” I only had given him QN4U BBQ. I liked the name and so did Kim, so it stuck.

The work started the next day January 15th and we completed and opened the doors March 28th at 5:00pm.