The longtime owner of a popular Columbia restaurant that’s selling to Como Smoke and Fire is ready to leave the restaurant business.
Owner Mark Brown says today and Saturday are the final days that Buckingham Smokehouse to be open for business.
“I didn’t know if I’d ever have an opportunity to sell or not but the opportunity came along. And I’ve been open 26 years, 24 years here in Columbia and two years, I started in Springfield and it’s enough. I mean I’m not ready to quit working, I’m just ready to be out of the restaurant business,” Brown says.
Mr. Brown is thanking the Columbia area community for its support over the years and his employees as well.
The dining room at Buckingham has been packed, since they announced they’re selling to Como Smoke and Fire. Brown says they’ve been so busy that they’ve run out of some menu items at times.
“Ever since we put the notice in, you know we put it on social media, and we’ve been doing more than double everyday what we normally do. Everybody wants to come in for their last Buckingham’s,” says Brown.
Buckingham’s began in Springfield and opened in Columbia in 1998.
Brown thanks customers and employees for their longtime support. He has great memories, including the day in 2008 that GOP presidential nominee John McCain brought U.S. Sens. Kit Bond, Jack Danforth and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham to eat.
“Kit Bond was introducing me to all the (U.S.) senators and stuff. And Lindsey, he grabs my hand, he pulls me up he said ‘I’m from the Carolinas. And I said, I understand that. And he said, I live on barbecue. And I just looked at him and said, I’m not scared: come on in buddy,” says Brown.
Brown tells 939 the Eagle that he’s been fortunate to see some of the same customers for two decades.