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Barbecue reopens after family medical emergency forced closure

Barbecue lovers may have noticed that the “Sorry, we’re closed” sign in the window at Jeremiah’s BBQ hasn’t been hanging nearly as much.

After a nearly four-month closure due to a family medical emergency, Jeremiah’s BBQ reopened June 17. Owner Mike Hallis is eager to dispel rumors.

“We’ve heard everything from that the restaurant wasn’t doing well financially to that the building was sold and is being turned into a bar, none of which are true,” Hallis said.

A third rumor circulated Sequim that Hallis was ill. He was diagnosed with malignant melanoma more than one year ago, Hallis said, but is in remission and has a clean bill of health from the doctor. “I am healthy and I plan on being around a long time,” he assured.

They closed because Hallis and his wife, Kris, moved to Southern California to help his mother recuperate from a mini-stroke and fall. The couple decided to close the restaurant, lay off the employees and relocate immediately after hearing about the 87-year-old woman’s medical condition.

“We took all the food we prepared that day to the fire department, buttoned up and headed south,” Hallis said, country music playing faintly in the background. “There was no one else to take care of her and, as hard as it was, family always comes first.”

“We thought we would have to relocate permanently and live with Mom,” he continued, “but during the last few weeks of our stay she started feeling like she would be able to go back to living on her own and we felt she was ready, too.”

Hallis said he greatly appreciates all the supportive cards, flowers, e-mails and phone calls they’ve received from community members.

Now that the couple has returned, reconstruction will continue on the restaurant and parking lot. An addition resembling a barn, which was started prior to the February closure, is expected to be finished within 8-10 weeks. The new building will double the size of the kitchen and provide more seating space for customers, a change that became necessary when the restaurant started offering in-house dining as well as takeout orders and catering.

“We needed to expand our kitchen so we can expand our menu,” Hallis said. “We are maxed out.”

A grand reopening celebration will be scheduled upon completion.

Jeremiah’s BBQ — named after a biblical reference to Jeremiah 29:11 where the Lord says he expects prosperity and hope for the future — is open 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Menu items include baby back ribs, shredded brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and traditional “down home” country-style side dishes like homemade beans, potato salad, coleslaw and corn bread.

For more information, stop by 825 W. Washington St., go online to www.jeremiahsbbq.com or call 681-4BBQ (4227).

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