Greg Beverlin will plant a tree this month in honor of his wife, Donna Beverlin, who died of cancer in late April. The tree will stand in Donna’s beloved garden patio at Hillsdale Bank Bar B-Q.
The seasonal restaurant was open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays each spring through November. The restaurant was also routinely featured as a travel pit stop in regional magazines over the years.
The Beverlins, each turning 60, had planned to make 2016 their final spring through fall season of operations at Hillsdale Bank Bar B-Q at 201 Frisco St. in Hillsdale, Kan.
Greg turned out some of the best hickory-smoked barbecue in metro Kansas City. He built the restaurant’s barbecue pits, while Donna will be remembered for her secret recipe barbecue beans, artisan breads and wood-fired pizzas.
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Her culinary talents were a perfect complement to Greg’s pitmaster and saucier skills; they were a team never to be duplicated.
Although the couple enjoyed the work and loved their many customers, they had already decided that 26 years was a good run and a good time to take a rest from high stress, labor-intensive restaurant operations.
When Donna was diagnosed with cancer, she and Greg had planned to permanently close the restaurant after Memorial Day. But with his wife’s unexpected death on April 26, Greg closed the restaurant immediately and does not plan to reopen it.
The couple’s historic rural Hillsdale Bank building will continue to serve as the kitchen where Greg will make their wildly popular small-batch barbecue sauce known simply as The Sauce. From now on The Sauce will be a tribute to Donna and available at supermarkets and specialty stores throughout Kansas City.
Friends, relatives, loved ones and thousands of Hillsdale Bank Bar B-Q customers will share enough memories of Donna to fill volumes in the coming years. One constant, Greg reminded me, is that “Donna would not tolerate negative comments about anyone.”
In addition to Greg, Donna is survived by their daughter, Kristina, of Seattle, and son Gregory of San Jose, Calif.
Ardie Davis founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS Hall of Flame.