Closing of Atlas BBQ to leave hole in Grafton

Restaurant in high-profile location on downtown plaza will serve its last meal Sunday after nine years in business

GRAFTON’S ATLAS BBQ will close its doors Sunday, Dec. 19, after serving as a landmark business in the village for a decade. The restaurant at 1304 12th Ave. is on Grafton’s Paramount Plaza, which is between the restaurant and the Grafton Hotel Apartments building on the right. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

Atlas BBQ in Grafton will close on Sunday, Dec. 19, after nine years in business, leaving a gap in the village’s downtown that the Grafton Chamber of Commerce hopes will fill quickly.

The barbecue spot at 1304 12th Ave., adjacent to Paramount Plaza, opened in November 2012 and established itself as a Grafton landmark over the years.     

In a Facebook post, Atlas BBQ owner Mike Tsuchihashi thanked the Grafton community for supporting the business through the years.

 “We were asked to be at your dinner table for weddings, birthdays, baptisms, graduations, reunions and in times of mourning,” the post said. “Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your family, and thank you for your never-ending support over the years.”

The announcement came as a shock to many, with hundreds expressing their sadness over the closure through comments on the post.

In addition to a flood of comments, the announcement also caused a flood of business from those looking to use gift cards or looking for a last meal at the local barbeque spot.

The restaurant had to adjust its operating hours last  weekend, Dec. 11 and 12, to allow time to restock items that were quickly selling out following the announcement.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam King said it is difficult to see Tsuchihashi leave but she is glad he will go on to pursue a passion of his.

Tsuchihashi plans to return to school to pursue his master’s degree in education. King said he likely won’t be assuming a traditional teaching role but may use his education and training experience to help others develop restaurant concepts.

“We wish him nothing but the best,” King said. “He’s been a great community partner, a great Chamber member and a great supporter of Grafton.”

King said Atlas BBQ played an important role in supporting downtown Grafton events and making the village a destination. She said having a restaurant in such a central point of the downtown filled an important gap.

“Paramount Plaza is really the heart of our community,” she said. “It was intentionally designed as a good focal point for the downtown, so having some key businesses in that location certainly matters.”

King said both she and Tsuchihashi hope a new tenant or owner will quickly assume the former Atlas BBQ space.

“While there is no way we’re going to replace him and his business in our community, it is great to know there will be something new there,” King said.
    

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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