Doors are closed at Smoken Bones in Victoria’s Hudson

Smoken Bones Cookshack’s lights are out and doors are locked in the Hudson building at Douglas and Herald streets.

The 110-seat barbeque restaurant founded and owned by Metchosin native Ken Hueston closed this week.

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It was the first commercial tenant in the redeveloped Hudson building at 1701 Douglas St. Hueston moved in after running a popular 74-seat location on Station Avenue in Langford since spring 2006.

Hueston could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

A notice on the restaurant’s Herald Street door is directed at Hueston, stating that if he wants access, he must call a number at Peterson Commercial, a property management firm. A Peterson official said he could not comment.

Hueston has been a prominent and active member of the local restaurant community, serving as president of the Island Chef’s Collaborative. In November 2007, Smoken Bones was named 12th among Canada’s top 20 new restaurants by En Route magazine, Air Canada’s in-flight publication.

The next year, Hueston, then 33, was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. At that time, he was serving between 350 and 420 people daily at his Langford location, outpacing original expectations of 80 people a day.

The former executive chef at Spinnakers relied on traditional methods of smoking meat based on practices in the southern U.S. He used wood chips from Vancouver Island alder and organic fruit trees.

Smoken Bones’s success in the West Shore prompted Hueston to move to Victoria. In November 2011, he was busy with final details to open in 4,000 square feet at the Hudson.

He said then that he had been flooded with hundreds of emails and phone calls from customers since closing the Langford restaurant a few months earlier.

Smoken Bones was featured on the Food Network program You Gotta Eat Here! in 2012.

At a competing barbecue outlet, Pig BBQ Joint, 1325 Blanshard St., manager Michael Hoffmann said business is strong for both the restaurant and the company’s food truck, which goes to special events. Pig has a second location at 2955 Phipps Rd. in the West Shore. It was also recently featured on You Gotta Eat Here!

“We are very happy with business, so I don’t think [Smoken Bones’s closing] reflects on that particular genre of food,” he said.

He added: “The restaurant business is not an easy business, to be sure.”

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