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Entertainment

North Hills will lose its only barbecue restaurant next year

Raleigh

One of the oldest restaurants in North Hills is closing early next year.

Q Shack will move out of North Hills at the end of January 2019, as the owners of the barbecue restaurant transition into catering.

Tom Meyer owns the North Hills Q Shack and said in an interview he will close the restaurant and move his catering company, Southern Harvest Hospitality, to a new larger kitchen somewhere else in the Triangle.

“We’re not going out of business, we’re growing into primarily a catering operation and can’t do it out of that kitchen,” Meyer said. “It’s just the wrong location for a catering business.”

Q Shack opened in 2005 as one of North Hills’ first restaurants. It was the second location of the original Q Shack, which started in Durham (and is still operating), but was owned and operated independently by Meyer. The move to catering has been in the works for about a year and a half, Meyer said, having notified North Hills developer Kane Realty in the summer of 2017 that Q Shack would likely not renew its lease, which expires at the end of January.

Meyer said he also notified his staff at that time that Q Shack would close, but offered all employees a job in the catering company.

In recent years, the restaurants in North Hills have started moving away from fast casual and into upscale chains or new sit down restaurants. Meyer said Q Shack didn’t necessarily fit in.

“They’ve done a magnificent job (with North Hills),” Meyer said. “It sort of became a little city within a city. Their vision is more experiential, a lifestyle center. ... We’re not making a branding statement, we’re just trying to make darn good barbecue.”

But Meyer said his time with Q Shack has come to an end.

“I don’t feel called to open Q Shack in another location,” Meyer said. “I feel I’m supposed to be at weddings and events where we can be a little more meaningful in the experience. It never felt right to move the restaurant. And it never ends up being a good idea, all most universally fail.”

The Raleigh Q Shack will operate normally through the end of the year. After that it will revert to 2005 prices, charging $5, $7 and $10 for plates depending on the combination of smoked meats, from Jan. 1 through its last day on Jan. 19.

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