Last week, February 22, John Wayne’s Barbecue closed. Located on 5th Ave. in Lexington’s small downtown area John Wayne’s had been opened for more than 25 years. According to The Dispatch, the restaurant was purchased by Tim Meyers after having been owned by John Wayne Little since 1985. We only found out yesterday about the closing and confirmed what we had heard by driving up to John Wayne’s and finding it abandoned.
We’ve only recently started our hunt for the best bbq in the area and had the pleasure of visiting John Wayne’s for the first time a few weeks ago. What made us the saddest was the fact that, so far, we tasted the best bbq there. At almost all the bbq joints we’ve visited here in Lexington the plate usually looks the same: hush puppies, fries, red slaw, and bbq. John Wayne’s wasn’t any different but they had the best sauce and it was the only place where the skin was left in. Skin sounds insignificant but that perfect crunch and saltiness with your bbq make for a hell of an experience. On top of that, John Wayne’s had their own sauce that went away from the usual tang and vinegar taste that you find in Lexington sauces and was sweeter and spicier.
It’s sad to think that we had talked about going back after we found out about the all-you-can-eat specials they changed every day–Tuesdays were all-you-can-eat wings. All the pies were homemade and on Thursday they served a “Poor man’s supper” which included local favorites like fatback. The restaurant had a lot to offer, but it’s closing just proves that barbeque is not recession-proof.