Henrico’s Dunn’s Bar-B-Que closes after 85 years

Retirement of its owners is leading Dunn’s to call it quits. (Photos by Michael Schwartz)

A longtime Henrico barbecue joint has shut down its smokers for good.

Dunn’s Bar-B-Que at 3716 Mechanicsville Turnpike closed for business on Friday. It has been in operation since 1935.

The walk-up and drive-in spot wasn’t a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, but rather the current owners are ready to retire and were unable to find someone willing to take over.

“We’re tired,” said Rhonda Martin, whose husband Stuart Martin is the third-generation owner of Dunn’s. “We’ve just done it a long time.”

The restaurant’s drive-in model helped keep it busy during the pandemic and ensuing public health orders that prompted many restaurants to temporarily close indoor seating areas, Martin said.

The Martins own the land where the 450-square-foot restaurant is located. A new, undisclosed restaurant has been lined up to lease the space.

Dunn’s exit comes amid other recent restaurant closures in the region, most related to the coronavirus downturn. Naked Onion, a takeout spot in the Fan, closed its doors after seven years of operation. Richmond on Broad Cafe also recently closed in downtown Richmond.

A lunchtime line grew out the door on Friday for Dunn’s last day in business.

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Tracey Harvey
Tracey Harvey
1 month ago

Congrats on retirement, Dunn’s is a staple that will be missed.