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This NC restaurant rebuilt after 2 fires. Now it’s closing for good after 40+ years

D.G. Martin orders seafood family style which comes with plates filled with boiled potatoes, fried shrimp, fish and chicken and a bowl of coleslaw and another one of Brunswick stew at Holt Lake Bar-B-Q & Seafood in Smithfield on Sept. 20, 2016.

D.G. Martin orders seafood family style which comes with plates filled with boiled potatoes, fried shrimp, fish and chicken and a bowl of coleslaw and another one of Brunswick stew at Holt Lake Bar-B-Q & Seafood in Smithfield on Sept. 20, 2016.

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A restaurant known for resilience and fried fish will close this week after more than 40 years in business.

Holt Lake Bar-B-Q & Seafood announced on Facebook this week that the restaurant will ease into retirement. Owner Terry Barefoot, whose family opened Holt Lake in 1979, said the restaurant’s last day will be this Saturday, Sept. 18.

“Over the past 42.5 years I’ve met a lot of friends and family,” Barefoot wrote on Facebook. “People have support(ed) my family and supported Holt Lake Seafood and BBQ. I would like to graciously thank each and everyone of you for your continued business and support over the years. This will be our last week at Holt Lake Seafood and BBQ. It is time to retire.”

Situated between Smithfield and Four Oaks, Holt Lake BBQ closes as one of Johnston County’s oldest restaurants. Serving generations of diners, most plates included fried chicken, chopped barbecue or plates of fried seafood and Southern sides like fried okra, lima beans and Brunswick stew.

In its 42 year history, Holt Lake burned twice. The first fire in 1981, only two years after opening, was ruled to be arson, according to earlier reporting in the News & Observer.

The most recent fire in 2010 completely gutted the restaurant, which was leveled to a concrete pad. After the April fire, Holt Lake reopened in December of 2010 in time for holiday orders and parties.

In his farewell post Barefoot said that while the restaurant will close Sept. 18, previously placed catering and holiday orders will be fulfilled.

“Thank you again for all the love and support over the past 42.5 years,” Barefoot said. “I have gained an extended family that I will be forever grateful for.”

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.

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