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Butt Hut in Vidalia will not reopen, owner says

VIDALIA — The owner of The Butt Hut, a popular Miss-Lou barbecue joint, said he has decided his restaurant will not come back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has sunk me,” Kim Kinsey said of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kinsey had owned The Butt Hut since April of 2019.

“I think we have made a lot of improvement in the food,” Kinsey said of his tenure as owner of The Butt Hut. “We had increased sales about 47%.”

In early April, Kinsey said he closed The Butt Hut temporarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

As the weeks went by, however, Kinsey said he realized that reopening was becoming more economically unfeasible.

“At first it was kind of like, ‘Hey, we go through the good months, maybe we can get sales back to where we were,’” Kinsey said. “I think at this point, financially, it has created such a burden there is no way in the world to maintain it.”

Kinsey said he had been leasing the facility, but he has let the lease go and gutted the property of his equipment.

A new tenant has leased the facility with plans to open as a fish place, Kinsey said.

If tourism comes back, and he can find another location that could possibly accommodate more people, Kinsey said he might consider re-opening The Butt Hut.

“I’ll do what I can to come back but it is not going to happen any time soon,” Kinsey said, adding his crew was upset at the announcement and many of them expressed a desire to go back to work for him if he ever reopens The Butt Hut.

“That makes me feel good,” Kinsey said.