Greg Barnes had a 32-year career with the Overland Park Fire Department, where his skills as a cook had him pulling kitchen duty more often than most.
He also went out on the barbecue competition circuit with his father, and later with a fellow firefighter, and catered events for 15 years — when he was off from his 24-hour firefighter shifts.
So after he retired, he took his barbecue skills and opened Fireside BBQ at 10400 Mastin St. in Overland Park. But after four years as a full-time restaurateur, Barnes is retiring to his new home in the Ozarks.
“The restaurant business is for the birds. I’m here from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” he said. “I’m too old and I’m not having a life. I want to play a bit.”
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The Fireside menu included many of the barbecue favorites Barnes grew up on — ham, chicken, as well as ribs, beef brisket, turkey, pulled pork, sausage and burnt ends. For dessert, he offered a dump cake and a barbecue sundae with a choice of meat and two sides in a to-go cup.
Barnes plans to close on Sept. 28. He has five mostly part-time employees.
“I envy the restaurants that can stick with it and ride it out,” Barnes said. “But I’ve had a lot of fun and met a lot of nice people.”