Barbecue restaurant coming downtown

Barbecue restaurant coming downtown

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A Traverse City barbecue restaurant is set to open its second location in Grand Rapids.

Sparks BBQ, which purchased the old Lucky Luciano’s Pizza at 15 Ionia Ave. SW, Suite 140, announced it has passed inspection with the Kent County Health Department and is tentatively set to open in Grand Rapids on Jan. 14.

Dean Sparks, owner of the Traverse City-based restaurant, said the team currently is going through training and plans to open the following week. Currently, there are about 15 employees on staff, but based on demand, the number could double in the future.

Sparks took possession of the space next to HopCat and Grand Rapids Brewing Company on Nov. 1 and began demolition and renovations Nov. 6.

Sparks is a “self-taught pitmaster,” according to the company’s website, who took his passion for barbecue on the road with a food trailer roving through downtown Traverse City in 2015.

The success of the food truck moved Sparks BBQ’s operations to a permanent location at 439 E. Front St., in early 2016. As demand increased, Sparks BBQ quickly outgrew its first location and moved to a much larger location in downtown Traverse City at 201 E. Front St. in 2018. The move introduced beer and wine to the menu along with many more sides and options for guests.

Sparks BBQ serves barbecued meats by the pound, la carte, sandwiches, appetizers, salads, sides, specialty entrees and desserts.

The restaurant also will have a full bar serving beer and wine.

Guest can dine-in or carryout. Catering services also are available.

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