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Riverfront Bar-B-Q to stay open

Two people walk down the sidewalk in front of Riverfront Bar-B-que and Grace's Country Cooking Monday afternoon. After announcing they would be closing this week, the owners of Riverfront say they'll keep the doors open.

Two people walk down the sidewalk in front of Riverfront Bar-B-que and Grace's Country Cooking Monday afternoon. After announcing they would be closing this week, the owners of Riverfront say they'll keep the doors open.

ALBANY, Ga. — Not so fast with that "Vacancy" sign for Riverfront Bar-B-Q.

Restaurateur Dale Saunders confirmed Monday morning that he had decided to keep open the popular downtown restaurant after all. While he recently announced plans to close the doors of the restaurant Thursday following a 5 1/2-year run at its 105 W. Broad Ave. location, Saunders said he had a change of heart.

"I want this restaurant to work; I want downtown to work," Saunders said shortly after meeting with businessman Bob Brooks, who owns the property in which the restaurant is located. "I think this move is in the best interest of my business, and it's in the best interest of downtown."

Brooks, who has significant holdings in the city's Central Business District, said he actively worked to convince Saunders to keep the barbecue restaurant open.

"I think it sunk in that he has built a good business, so why would he let someone else come in and take advantage of all his hard work?" Brooks said. "We had a big discussion (Monday) morning, and Dale has decided he wants to give it another try. He loves Albany and he loves downtown."

Saunders said he was reconsidering his decision to close the restaurant even before he met with Brooks.

"Last week I had the flu, so I wasn't able to go to work," said Saunders, who also owns/manages the Riverfront 2 Bar-B-Q restuarant in Lee County, two mobile barbecue restaurants and a successful catering business. "I spent a lot of time thinking — just me and my dog sitting around the house — and I was considering giving it another whirl before closing down a business that has been a part of my life for almost six years.

"I talked with Bob, and he convinced me that there were some good things coming downtown. We talked about improving the patio area adjacent to the restaurant and about the possibility of applying for programs like (the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority's) facade grants. I thought about all the people who have supported me over the years and how proud I was to make the business work when others said it couldn't be done."

Albany City Manager James Taylor welcomed Saunders' announcement as good news for the district.

"Citizens, especially those who work downtown, were concerned about losing one of their favorite places to eat," Taylor said. "We were all sad to hear that Riverfront was closing, but we're excited to hear (Saunders) has reconsidered."

Brooks said another businessman had reached a tentative agreement to immediately move into the Riverfront location if Saunders had closed it.

Comments

SayWhatHeffa 1 year, 2 months ago

Way to go Dale!!! We love Riverfront Barbeque ..

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gsujd 1 year, 2 months ago

That's great. The food is outstanding, and it can only help to make downtown better.

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Bulldawg 1 year, 2 months ago

I am glad. Riverfront has the best Bar B Que in the area by far. Also, great news for downtown as well.

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jglass 1 year, 2 months ago

Glad to hear they are not closing. They have a good variety of food.

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TRUTH101 1 year, 2 months ago

I wonder how much he got paid to stay..........and who paid him

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Hoodie 1 year, 2 months ago

I wonder how much he got paid to stay..........and who paid him

Inquiring minds...

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Hell, nobody down there has any money. Even Brooks is strapped for cash.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 2 months ago

Evidently you do not know Bob very well. LMAO

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wtfalbany 1 year, 2 months ago

I could careless who paid him and how much!! SO GLAD they are staying open as one can only eat a sandwich so many days in a row!! So happy to keep the variety and excellent bar-b-que downtown!!

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Bwana_Daode 1 year, 2 months ago

Agreed. He must have got a good sum to stay opened. Good luck with that you tight wad.

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urbanpurpose 1 year, 2 months ago

""I got the flu last week and wasn't able to go to work. I took the time to really think about (the restaurant closing), and I decided it was in the best interest of my business to stay open." Maybe he is actually making money in that location. Just a thought. I say, good decision Dale. Think positive Albany

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Cartman 1 year, 2 months ago

Glad to hear you're staying open Dale.

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waltspecht 1 year, 2 months ago

Wonder if the TACO Truck had anything to do with it? Glad to see it remain open, we need all the jobs we can get, plus a Ten thousand more. Just for the folks that want to work.

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terihdfxr1 1 year, 2 months ago

I bet Mr. Brooks came down on his rent enough for them to make a profit. Seems like whatever restraunt is in there they have a hard time paying all that rent and staying open. We know they have the business, its always packed at lunch. Mr. Brooks ought to sell off some of those propertys and let downtown grow and prosper, It has all the potental and charm, dig deeper into why it cannot work.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 2 months ago

Are you going to buy the buildings? Have you been to a bank to try and get a loan lately? What world are you living in? He would love to sell his properties but the real estate market is terrible right now. Come on...

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southernPlaya 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey Taco truck almost right place right time

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RandyLee 1 year, 2 months ago

A big thanks to Bob Brooks also. I pointed out last week in another post that he was willing to work with any one to help them stay in business. Thank you Mr Brooks

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 2 months ago

Agreed! Thank you, Bob! You are doing good things for Albany.

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dickyboy 1 year, 2 months ago

Bob made him an offer he couldn't refuse....

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Saunders is a good man who has his heart and sweat in his work. I'm delighted that he is staying. It is the best BBQ in South Georgia.

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dickyboy 1 year, 2 months ago

We who like Dale and his product need to make a concerned effort if you can afford it.. to go there a little more often if possible.. in a previous article in November he told Carlton his rent was $4000 a month and utilities about the same.. hope BB gave him a break

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

I'll be down there later this week for a good ol' BBQ sammich and some ice tea and french fries. Lots of pickles, please!

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chinaberry25 1 year, 2 months ago

Great! Glad to hear it. The rent should not be off the charts because he can go out by the mall and pay that. The traffic would be much greater too.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 2 months ago

Thank you, Dale!! I will still support you downtown!!! Good news!!!

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Ihope4albany 1 year, 2 months ago

This news is certainly a plus for downtown!

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trudy2 1 year, 2 months ago

What else do you have to offer folks from out of town ?

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