Jack's Original Barbecue Is Closing Today

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Yet another Tucson restaurant institution is closing, folks.

This time, it's Jack's Original Barbecue, originally owned and operated under Jack and Laura Banks from 1950 to 1992, when Jack retired and sold the business.

The current owners, Greg and Steve Baccardo, along with their father, Larry, purchased the restaurant a few years later from its second owner, and have run it since.

Now, after a long drought in sales, the restaurant is closing its doors.

"That's what happens when you go through a five-year recession ... you can only keep up with it for so long," Greg Baccardo said. "We want to be able to pay everybody back, not go bankrupt and shut down the right way.

"We don't want the business to close. I'd rather give somebody the business if they bought the building for whatever it appraises for."

The restaurant was originally slated to shut its doors at the beginning of the summer, Baccardo said. Then the Arizona Daily Star caught wind of their plans and published a story about the then-imminent closure. "[The Star] came out with the article, and everyboudy started pouring in. I said, 'Hey, we'll ride it as long as we can' ... then slowly but surely, it just tailed off again 'til, you know, nothing."

The restaurant is packed one last time, with diners streaming in to say farewell. "Everyone's telling stories of 'when I was a kid,'" Baccardo said. "My father brought me here when I was a kid, before we bought it. It was a big part of my family, a part of my history."

Jack's Original Barbecue, located at 5250 E. 22nd St., plans on keeping regular business hours today, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., for as long as they still have food to serve.

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