Local barbecue spot Sloppy Mama’s has closed its outpost in the Ballston Quarter food hall.
The location closed last week after “operating costs became too much, especially with the recent meat pricing spikes,” owner Joe Neuman tells ARLnow. “The volume of sales just wasn’t there to sustain operations land we had to cut our losses.”
But Sloppy Mama’s is not going anywhere. Its primary, standalone location at 5731 Lee Highway is doing just fine, Neuman says.
“We’ve been staying quite busy at our Lee Highway location,” he said, adding that the Ballston Quarter closure “will allow us to consolidate some staffing and operate more efficiently to provide even better BBQ and service.”
Sloppy Mama’s Ballston and Lee Highway locations opened within a few months of each other in 2019. The latter is where the meats are actually smoked and cooked, whereas the mall location was simply a sales outpost.
In a bit of additional positive news for barbecue fans, Neuman said breakfast service on Lee Highway, launched 10 months ago, is “going well” and “here to stay,” while adding that “we might tweak our hours a little bit.”
For now, Neuman is focused on re-opening the restaurant for in-person dining.
“Our number one priority is getting the dining room open,” he said. “We’ve been doing some remodeling so even as Virginia opened up we weren’t able to open just yet — but I think we’re gonna be able to get it open next week.”
“Once we get the dining room open and get our feet under us with… we will possibly look to going back to seven days a week,” he added.
One additional focus: a program recently launched by Sloppy Mama’s to provide free meals as a thank you to local teachers. Community members are being encouraged to donate to the program, for which the restaurant subsidizes 40% of the costs.
This past fall the Washington Post ranked Sloppy Mama’s as the No. 9 barbecue joint in the D.C. area.