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Bigger and buzzier

Michael Schwartz March 27, 2012 21

 

Taking things slow has always been part of Buz Grossberg’s business.

But two years to get the second location of his Buz and Ned’s restaurant up and running was almost too much for Grossberg or his business to handle.

Finally, after countless delays, going more than $1 million over budget and almost being forced to sell a huge stake of his company to finance the project, the long-awaited new Buz and Ned’s will open for business next week at the corner of West Broad Street and Parham Road.

“It’s been nearly two and half years,” Grossberg said, sitting in a booth at his new restaurant Monday. “We have got to open.”

Famous for its barbecue, Buz and Ned’s has been trying for a second location for about five years.

Grossberg, 59, who started the business as a food cart in 1992 and opened its first permanent location on Boulevard in 1995, initially targeted Hanover County for a second restaurant.

He planned to buy a site at the Winding Brook development near the Bass Pro Shop. But that deal fell through at the last minute after a year and a half of negotiations and $150,000 in architectural, engineering and legal fees down the drain.

Then he found the site at the corner of West Broad and Parham, which was previously a Fuddruckers.

He bought the property in February 2010 for $1.2 million and planned to spend $2.8 million to renovate the space to fit the vision he had in mind for a bigger Buz and Ned’s.

But that $2.8 million mark came and went. Then came $3 million. In the end, Grossberg said, the new restaurant has cost $4 million. That’s thanks to major architectural issues and never-ending hurdles with zoning, plumbing — you name it.

The obstacles became so frequent and so costly that Grossberg almost ran out of money to continue the build-out.

He used about $1 million in loans from his other location (the two restaurants are separate corporations) and a bank loan.

“I intentionally kept money in the corporation specifically for these reasons,” Grossberg said. “I didn’t take it as salary.”

But then about two months ago he needed another $250,000 to finish things off. His bank wasn’t sure it wanted to get in any further, and Grossberg had drawn all he could from the other restaurant.

That’s when he began talks to sell huge stakes of both restaurants, something he dreaded.

At the last minute, his lender came through and agreed to loan what Grossberg needed.

“If the bank hadn’t gone forward, we literally didn’t have enough money to open the doors,” he said. “We would be in bankruptcy right now, or I would have had to sell out to some vulture.”

Grossberg said there were times when he thought about throwing in the towel.

“At some point, you say, ‘I’m too far into it. I can’t stop.’”

The new restaurant is almost 10,000 square feet, more than twice the size of his first location, and sits at a prime corner on West Broad Street. It has rustic-looking features and décor, a long way from its Fuddruckers past. Grossberg was going for an old-fashioned smokehouse look.

There’s an old water tower on the roof, three huge smokers that are in view from Broad Street and what might be the largest ceiling fan in Richmond, with blades that look like they came off a helicopter.

“It’s a comfortable place,” he said. “That’s what I wanted.”

A private “friends and family” test run will take place April 2 and April 3. And finally, doors open for everyone Wednesday, April 4.

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21 Comments »

  1. Drew March 27, 2012 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Looking forward to eating some fantastic BBQ at the new spot, but since I live closer to Blvd, I will continue to frequent the original more often.

  2. D March 27, 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    April 4th can’t get here quick enough. Buz & Ned’s rocks!

  3. Stuart Harlow March 27, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Buz has indeed gone to a lot to get this new site up and open. He indeed is due an award for sticking with it. It is indeed unfortunate that when something like this is taken on it seems that the local governments and inspectors and local rules work against you. It is very hard to help the tax base and unemployment propblem when the regulatetors have their hands around your neck and one hand in your bank account. Carlos Slim Helu said to correct the economy small and medium businesses need to let free to grow. Why we cannot listen to a learn from the wealthest person in the WORLD.

  4. Brett March 27, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    As a contractor I can tell you that building in Henrico is not as bad as some are making it out to be. There isn’t that much red tape. The inspectors I deal with on a daily basis are easy to get along with and respectful. There are building codes that have to be followed and owners don’t always like to follow them because they cost money, but they are necessary for public safety. Proper planning prevents a lot of the delays, but proper planning costs money. $2.8 million is indeed a ton to invest in one location, but it really does look amazing and if the food is as good as the other location, they’ll reap the reward.

  5. bob lazar March 27, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I’ve been watching and waiting a long time for this. Best ribs in Richmond!

  6. Sallie Rhett March 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Will be a definite visit as soon as you open the doors! Great location and great food — a sure fire winner!! Best wishes.

  7. andrew Pegalis March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Buz – Congratulations! Hopefully these delays and expense overruns will become a distant memory. Now it’s about blowing the doors off! Let me be the first to commit to a Catered event for our Tenants (100 +/-) at the CenterPointe Office Building, in Midlothian (www.acclaimproperties.us)!

  8. Mighty Casey March 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    I cannot WAIT for next Wednesday!! Love Buz & Ned’s on the Boulevard, now there will be one even closer to where I live. Everybody wins!!

  9. Lisa Williamson March 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Buz’s bbq is okay. Pierce’s is good. But Q makes the best bbq in Virginia. Hands down!

  10. Eddie O'Leary March 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Great job Buz. We are all super excited to try the new restaurant!

  11. Nick March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to claim my new booth! The Flay Slayer’s expansion will hopefully pay off in spades!

  12. Linda Seguin March 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Buz and Ned’s is BBQ Heaven!! Congrats to Buz for delicious food and an amazing new location. Wait until you see it!!! Very cool.

  13. G. April 3, 2012 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Considering Buz’s immense cost for this place, it’s may be safe to assume that the price of bbq has gone up, y’all!

  14. Orlando Jordan April 5, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    What a disaster for him. $2+ million over budget and his prices were already sky high! Can’t wait to try my $30 1/2 rack. Give me a break guys.

    I miss Fudd’s a ton and there are already a ton of other better options in RVA like Halligan, Alamo, and Q.

  15. Alison April 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Just called and was told the opening date isn’t until Thursday April 12!

  16. Brian April 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    As a native of Eastern NC, it’s my duty to let you all know that there is no good barbecue in Richmond, VA.

  17. jd April 6, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Brian, Couldn’t agree more! Closest thing to NC BBQ in Richmond is Benny’s on Forest Hill. Still not perfect, but closest I could find.

  18. Brandon April 6, 2012 at 10:29 am - Reply

    As a native of Richmond, Virginia, its my duty to let you all know that natives of eastern North Carolina have no taste. There is plenty of excellent barbecue here in Richmond.

  19. Brian April 6, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Brandon, then why when I go home do I see a lot of cars with Virginia license plates in the parking lots of Parkers BBQ, Bills BBQ, etc?

    Heck, in Richmond they don’t even serve sweet tea half the time with their BBQ. Sad, sad, sad.

  20. Shannon April 10, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Yes, it’s true that the REAL opening date is now this Thursday, April 12. (Lunches only for the first 2 weeks.)

    The wait is well worth it once you see the attention to detail that’s gone into the new location. Best news of all…the prices are the same. Buz would never dream of gouging his loyal customers. In addition to great, consistent, quality barbecue, the new spot features a fantastic bar with 18 beers on tap, over 40 by the bottle, and the largest, most extensive Bourbon and Tequila offerings in the region.

  21. Gordon April 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Just had lunch there and the Q is excellent. I would love to know where the $4 million in costs went, though. Didn’t notice many changes from Fuddruckers – same layout, kitchen in the same place, bathrooms in the same place. Doesn’t seem like much plumbing was needed. How in the world did that much money get spent to renovate an existing restaurant??? Buz – check your receipts!

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