Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-b-que has closed its original location on Lee Road in Winter Park. In an unsigned post on Facebook, the restaurant faulted the pandemic and an inability to find workers as the reason. The post noted that the restaurant closed Saturday with just four employees on staff. They will relocate to the Apopka location.
Sam Meiner opened the first Bubbalou’s 35 years ago and it was once the hands-down favorite among locals. It was awarded numerous Foodie awards by the Orlando Sentinel including several Critic’s Choices from me. Bubbalou’s was an offshoot of Meiner’s Pit Bar-b-que, renamed when Sam Meiner’s grandfather bought Old South Bar-b-que in Fairvilla.
A second location opened in 1996 at the corner of Kirkman and Conroy Roads in Orlando. That restaurant survives along with the Apopka location and one in Altamonte Springs. Another Bubbalou’s near UCF on Alafaya Trail north of Colonial Drive had previously closed.
Sam Meiner died of heart failure at the beginning of the year at age 70.
The Winter Park closing was first reported by Brendon O’Connor at Bungalower.