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2 Kansas City-area restaurants cite pandemic challenges for closing

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Posted at 8:21 PM, Dec 28, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As 2022 approaches, COVID-19 is forcing more restaurants in the Kansas City area to close.

On Tuesday, the owner of Brookside Poultry Co. said pandemic challenges are the reason they're closing on Jan. 29.

Plowboys Barbeque also announced they closed their Overland Park location.

"What's going to happen in 2022? I have no idea," Chef Charles d'Ablaing of Brookside Poultry Co. said. "I know I don't want 2021. I don't want to relive that because it was so up and down."

D'Ablaing made the tough call to close his business. The restaurant became a neighborhood staple for fried chicken after opening in 2018.

With word spreading about the restaurant closing, customers have been showing support by ordering takeout.

"We do care," D'Ablaing said. "We actually care where people come in and they sit down and they make us awesome paintings because we care. They care about us. We care about them."

Right now, the restaurant is only doing takeout because some employees tested positive for the virus.

Among the many factors for closing, D'Ablaing points to unreliable levels of business and skyrocketing product costs.

"When you see those percentages start creeping up, it hurts real quick," D'Ablaing said.

It's a similar situation for Todd Johns who owns Plowboys Barbeque.

"Really, we're walking into 2022 with a third leg of the stool for us," Johns said. "That's the inflation."

Johns has also run into problems like staffing shortages and supply chain issues. He decided to close his Overland Park location.

"It just makes sense for us to pull back, shrink a little bit, focus on the two restaurants that have been open for seven years in downtown Kansas City, eight and a half years in Blue Springs and really bolster our company and prepare to get through this next year," Johns said.

Despite the announcements from the two restaurants, The Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association is optimistic about the restaurant industry for 2022.

"Hopefully, we don't have anymore surprises with the virus," Bill Teel with the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association said. "It all hinges on that, but 2022 should be a pretty good year for us."

Teel said staffing has been a challenge for many restaurants, but it's beginning to get better.

"Two or three months ago, it was a big problem, but restaurants are gradually getting their workers back," Teel said.

For D'Ablaing, he shared a message about supporting small businesses.

"Just take care of your local restaurants," he said. "You've got to. Otherwise, they won't be here."