Business

Barbecue chain opening Cedar Rapids location Wednesday

Sugarfire Smoke House to offer drive-through service

The F&M Bank building at Westdale Town Center, seen in this file photo, will house Sugar Fire Cedar Rapids, a barbecue r
The F&M Bank building at Westdale Town Center, seen in this file photo, will house Sugar Fire Cedar Rapids, a barbecue restaurant. (George C. Ford/Freelance)

A St. Louis-based barbecue restaurant chain will open its first Iowa location Wednesday at Westdale Town Center in Cedar Rapids.

Sugarfire Smoke House Cedar Rapids initially will offer drive-through service at 2350 Edgewood Rd. SW. — a first for the chain.

Curbside pickup will begin on Saturday, with delivery, catering and dine-in service forthcoming.

J.D. Powers, his wife Johanna Powers, his brother Henry Powers and local residents Mark and Diane Niebuhr have transformed the former F&M Bank building since purchasing it in March.

The franchise owners originally intended to open in May, but that plan was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The standalone bank building needed to be remodeled into a restaurant that will accommodate 92 patrons, with interior seating for 60 and 32 additional on an outdoor patio.

Sugarfire Cedar Rapids will follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. All employees have been trained on proper safety and sanitation procedures, and staff will wear masks while working and use gloves when handling food.

The restaurant will undergo a thorough cleaning process each day before opening.

“Our No. 1 concern is the safety and health of our employees and customers, which is why we’ve chosen to scale back our operations upon opening,” Johanna Powers said. “We’re really focusing our efforts on our drive-through window and curbside pickup so that we can open safely and confidently.”

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Ten percent of drive-through proceeds from June 17 will be donated to the Feed Iowa First initiative. The local organization partners with schools, community organization and corporations to find open spaces to grow fresh produce and support farmers.

Sugarfire Cedar Rapids will be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. — or until sold out.

Sugarfire Smoke House opened its flagship location in St. Louis in 2012. It has locations in five states.

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