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“You don’t always get the most positive comments from people when you start selling BBQ out of a trailer on the side of Lowe’s, but now they’re the ones who come in and eat at my restaurant.”

BBQ Restaurant in Columbia and Jefferson City, MO

Burl Lutz is the founder and owner of Jefferson City’s one and only Lutz’s BBQ, smokin’ delicious, home-style barbecue. After constantly traveling with his construction job, Burl decided to start his own barbecue restaurant. You might find his recipes similar to his personality; tasteful, but straight to the point. Today, 13 years later, Lutz’ BBQ is located in two different cities, including Columbia, MO, and business is booming.

MO: What got you started in the food business?

Burl: I love food and love to cook. I got divorced and wanted to see my kids more. My construction job kept me away a lot, and I was working in Texas. Being the superintendent of a Construction Company I only got to come home to Missouri about once or twice a month, if I was lucky.

MO: Why barbecue?

Burl: I love barbecue, and my brother convinced me to start selling it, and for a way for me to bring my kids to work with me, since I was never able to spend as much time with them before as I had wanted to.

MO: How did you manage to make your restaurant succeed in such a competitive business?

Burl: Hard work, luck, loyal customers and help and support from my family and friends.

MO: What challenges did you have to overcome to become so successful?

Burl: Jumping into the unknown, and trying to make a career out of it. You don’t always get the most positive comments from people when you start selling BBQ out of a trailer on the side of Lowe’s, but now they’re the ones who come in and eat at my restaurant.

MO: Why did you decide to pursue a career making BBQ?

Burl: I love barbecue and I wanted to be around my children.

MO: Tell me about the fire that destroyed the restaurant Dec 6, 2008.

Burl: I got a call early that Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m. They could not give me a reason, but the Jefferson City Police Department was trying to get ahold of me. When I called I was afraid one of my kids was in a car accident. When they told me it was a fire and no one was injured, I was relieved. A fire can be fixed. We even had a catering for a Christmas party for 500 people the same day the fire occurred, and with the help of my family and friends we pulled it off.

MO: How were you able to come back from such a devastating event?

Burl: A very good staff and the best customers.

MO: Why did you decide to open a second location in Columbia?

Burl:  I have always wanted to have a barbecue joint in Columbia. On a weekly basis, our customers in Jeff City would ask when we were going to open a location in Columbia, because we surprisingly had a lot of customers from Columbia drive to Jeff City just to eat our food.

MO: How has owning this restaurant affected your life?

Burl: It is my life. I’ve made many friends and respect every business owner. It’s not easy at all. Getting my kids involved has made it a lot easier, and to see that they care as much as I do is one of the best feelings of success you can have.

MO: What are you looking forward to in the future?

Burl: Being able to serve the best barbecue anywhere, and to please my customers. Without them I wouldn’t have a business or a job. They are the reason I am where I am.

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