LEAWOOD, Kan. — Customers were turned away from the Leawood Gates Bar-B-Q location Friday after a fire made its way to the restaurant’s roof Friday morning.
Investigators are now working to determine what caused the fire to break out overnight at the popular barbecue restaurant.
Shortly after midnight crews from the Leawood Fire Department and Overland Park Fire Department responded to the fire at Gates Bar-B-Q, located at 2001 W. 103rd Terrace.
Once on scene, crews quickly extinguished a fire that had broken out in the kitchen area of the restaurant.
No injuries were reported, but Leawood Fire Deputy Chief Jarrett Hawley said the building has significant smoke damage and minor structural damage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Gates family told FOX4 the restaurant will be closed through the weekend and into next week.
“It came from the pit area where the pit was overheated. It got up into the roof and that was another issue. So we’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of work to be done,” said Kiva Gates, Gates Bar-B-Q director of training.
It comes on the heels of a big celebration for the franchise with 91-year-old restaurant patriarch Ollie Gates getting inducted to the Missouri Restaurant Hall of Fame just the day before.
Crews focused on patching the roof as lunchtime customers got the bad news from employees that, according to a handwritten sign, they’re “temporarily burnt out.”
“I love Gates, and I was disappointed,” regular customer Alan Pruitt said.
It’s not the first time this has happened at a Gates location. In 2020, the restaurant near Emanuel Cleaver Blvd and The Paseo also caught fire, and there were fires at the 12th and Brooklyn restaurant and Independence locations in 2015.
“You don’t ever get used to it, but you are prepared to do the work,” Kiva Gates said.
The Leawood location has been at that spot since 1972. The family said they hope to reopen it by Wednesday, but they described the fire as a gut-punch.
“I’m here, like I said, at lunchtime every day. So I look forward to seeing the same people, and we have relationships and friendships that over the years — you’d be surprised how many people you get to know and families that you grow close to,” Kiva Gates said.
“I mean, you know, it makes me feel bad. I want to get what I want. I drove all the way over here to get it. You know, I’m from the Kansas side. Yeah, so it just makes me feel like wow,” Everett said.
The Gates family said all the staff working at the Leawood location have been situated at their other restaurants. That’s also where they’re pointing regular customers who need to get their fix.