Brothers’ closes its doors due to lack of business, offers goodbye party Saturday 

Published 8:35 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

One last BBQ blowout

Editor’s note: Parts of this story came from an interview done for Danville Living magazine. 

A local eatery that became synonymous with barbecue and live music in Danville will cease to exist after this week. Brothers’ BBQ will lock its doors at midnight Saturday for the last time.

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“It’s just due to a lack of business,” says Mike Southerland, who co-owns the joint with brother Steve Southerland. But he wants to go out with a bang, he says. 

Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m., the restaurant will host one more party, offering a “limited but good” menu from the kitchen and a full bar. 

Live music by the Blind Midget Blues Band will be featured, and the band will offer an open jam for anyone who wants to jump in. 

“The food will be limited, but it will be good. I’ll have a bunch of brisket sandwiches and some other things,” Southerland said. “It’s obviously sad for me, but I hope people come out and have a blast.” 

Moving forward, Southerland says he will continue catering on a limited basis. 

“I just plan on regrouping,” Southerland said. 

How he got here

Southerland again said although this is a surprising and sad turn of events for the restaurant, he’s been overwhelmed with the pouring out of support from local patrons — most who have become his friends. 

“It’s just really been amazing,” he said. 

Southerland started his career by grilling at various area competitions — the Beef Festival in Harrodsburg and a number of other central Kentucky shindigs, and said everyone always asked him where his restaurant was. 

First he set up shop in the back of a golf course’s pro shop in Stanford, filing up the “restaurant” every weekend, which teased his taste buds to start a restaurant himself. He’d already begun making his own sauces and rubs and wanted to take that further. 

He and Steve had their eyes set on The Deli, the restaurant building on South Fourth Street owned by Joe Davis that closed in 2011. They took whatever cash they could raise, along with two backers, and got into the establishment in 2013. They built everything inside of it themselves, along with lots and lots of help from friends. 

“If not for them, we wouldn’t be here. It was a different crew every week,” Southerland said in a previous interview. They gutted the inside, starting over with scrap tin, wood and concrete — including a broken glass bar, which took multiple shattered wine bottles to design. 

After some months barely making it, they finally were able to afford their liquor license. Southerland previously recalled being in the kitchen day and night. A true labor of love, he says. 

As the barbecue joint started filling up, live music came. Open jam nights were held, a trivia night with prizes came weekly. 

But it’s hard running a restaurant that’s open six nights a week. Southerland previously said, “Eh, I’m not sure we ever did break even ….” 

Still competing

As Southerland contemplates his next move, he’s still coming down off of a huge recent win. Back in November, Southerland was invited to the Grilla competition at the World Food Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama. At first, he really didn’t think he had a chance. 

The scene was amazing, he said, with world-class grillers putting on airs and cooking up a storm. Southerland came armed with a recipe which he shared as the guest chef feature in Danville Living magazine: flank steak street tacos. The recipe and the cooking method is simple for this dish, but it shows the true flavor of tangy, marinated steak, fresh vegetables and homemade salsa. 

He came in third overall. 

Southerland still cooks with Team Grilla, a group of folks from all over who strut their stuff at different competitions. The team came in No. 9 in the entire whole hog division, battling against 300 or more teams during Memphis in May, an internationally known barbecue competition.