KC’s Bar-B-Que raises funds to rebuild after fire

Emilia Bulfone/Staff

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KC’s Bar-B-Que held a 50th anniversary celebration Saturday, which was turned into a fundraiser in light of the recent fire that engulfed the restaurant Feb. 17.

The restaurant staff organized a barbecue-style buffet where about 50 patrons showed their support by paying for tickets in exchange for food. The staff also sold t-shirts designed by a family friend to commemorate the restaurant’s 50th anniversary. Kristen Davis, the restaurant owner’s daughter, said she was overwhelmed but grateful for the turnout of customers.

Despite the tragedy, Davis was optimistic about the future of the restaurant.

“We’re gonna make it bigger and better, we’re gonna make it explode,” Davis said.

The fundraiser was first to be held at San Pablo Park, but was relocated last minute to St. Columba Catholic Church because of complications with city regulations, according to Davis.

Although the staff does not have any long-term concrete plans for moving forward, Davis said the possibilities are limitless. As the event came to a close, Davis said in a text message they managed to successfully raise enough profit to open a pop-up restaurant in the near future.

Armani Jackson, a KC’s Bar-B-Que chef, said this fundraiser was a collective effort to get the rebuilding “jump-started.” According to Jackson, the event showed how KC’s Bar-B-Que built a relationship with the community around it because supporters of the fundraiser were a mix of old and new faces.

“There wasn’t much time to sit around and be sad,” Jackson said. “We knew we had to rebuild, so we kicked into high-gear mode.”

Davis said the fire caused about $500,000 in damages and included not only the building, but many of the antiques that the family collected throughout four generations of service. According to Davis, a fireman salvaged many of the framed photos that were now displayed on the walls throughout the venue. Because the building is under investigation, the family will recover any remaining possessions once it has been released.

In addition to this fundraiser, the Davis family has opened a GoFundMe page which is at about $13,000 with an end goal of $100,000.

Davis’ grandfather first opened the restaurant in 1968 and her father, Pat Davis, has been managing the family business for 30 years. But if a new restaurant launches, Kristen Davis said it will be in honor of the next generation for the children in their family.

Larry Wirsig, a longtime customer of KC’s Bar-B-Que, donated to the cause when the fire first broke out and also contributed by coming to the fundraiser. Wirsig said he would love to see the restaurant make a comeback.  

“It’s more than a rib joint to me. My kids and I grew up eating there,” Wirsig said. “We’re going to support Pat and his family all the way. It sounds cliche, but this really about family.”

Contact Francesca Munsayac at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fcfm_dc.