There's no way to sugar-coat the news: The Nancy's Bar-B-Q in downtown Sarasota will close on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Owner Nancy Krohngold says the closure is due to a number of factors. The restaurant's lease expires at the end of November, and the property has been targeted for inclusion in a new mixed-use development since it and several other nearby parcels changed hands in 2018. Krohngold says her original plan was to find another suitable downtown location, but the Covid-19 pandemic has put the search on hold. The restaurant has lost significant lunchtime business because many downtown businesses have shifted to having their employees work from home.
When Krohngold opened the first Nancy's in 2011, it was an immediate hit, generating long lines of eager customers even before the soft opening turned into a real opening. The response was a reflection of the fandom Krohngold had built up over years serving what she called "stealth barbecue," when she would pop up in parking lots and side streets with huge containers of pulled pork, bundles of potato rolls and plenty of tangy sauce.
In the years since, Krohngold has expanded to Lakewood Ranch, first opening a small, stripped-down Nancy's and then, last year, opening a big restaurant and bar on State Road 70. Krohngold says she is focusing on the new Lakewood Ranch location, which represents a significant opportunity. Unlike the downtown location, the Lakewood Ranch restaurant is open seven days a week, offers a full bar and has live entertainment on the weekends.
That's good to know, but many of us will still dearly miss the downtown Nancy's, where we'd loll at the red picnic tables near the rusty tractor, sip sweet tea and devour heaps of smoked meat. The lesson: Nothing lasts forever.
The Lakewood Ranch Nancy's Bar-B-Q is located at 14475 S.R. 70 E., Lakewood Ranch, and is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Sunday. For more info, call (941) 999-2390 or visit the restaurant's website.