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High-end barbecue restaurant coming to refurbished building

ASHEBORO — If you like your meat cooked “low and slow,” you may want to try a new restaurant that will be opening in Asheboro next year.
Brandon McKenzie confirmed last week that Black Powder Smokehouse will be moving into the former Kivett Building at 516 S Fayetteville St., now owned and being renovated by McKenzie Real Estate LLC.
McKenzie and his wife Jenna bought the two-story brick building about a year ago from A.C. Dunn Jr. with plans to gut the interior and make cosmetic improvements to the exterior. Their goal was to provide a suitable space for retail operations downstairs and nice apartments on the second floor.
“Jenna wanted a good restaurant from the start,” Brandon McKenzie said. “She was selective.”
The result of the search for a tenant was Black Powder Smokehouse, which opened its first restaurant in the fall of 2019 in a refitted gas station on Main Street in Jamestown, north of High Point. The name “was inspired by the historic Jamestown School of gun making and the most accurate long rifles of their time,” according to the Black Powder Facebook page.
The restaurant’s website, https://blackpowdersmokehouse.com, says, “We serve artisan smoked meats and homemade sides with small-town hospitality.” The menu includes pulled and chopped pork, pulled chicken, sliced turkey, smoked sausage and pork spare ribs. But the best seller is Texas-style beef brisket.
Also on the menu are various sandwiches, homemade vegetables, extras such as pimiento cheese, kids plates and desserts. Black Powder also does take-outs and catering.
The new restaurant will have 5,925 square feet with seating for some 150 diners, including seats at the bar. Customers will come to the cutting counter to order and watch the meats being sliced. They’ll go down the line to select sides and drinks before taking their trays to a table.
Keith Henning, part-owner and chief cook, said the reason for cutting meats in front of the customer is to retain the juices — and the flavor — of the product.
“We like to keep everything as intact as possible to keep from losing the moisture,” Henning said. “That keeps the integrity of the meat. All our briskets are hereford (beef), (which) goes well with our style. The flavor beats everything out there. Our pork has great marbling. We use premium meats for everything. The smoke does the rest.”
Henning said they use “a lot of wood smokers” and cook briskets from 14-16 hours while pork butts, turkeys and sausage go nearly as long — “low and slow.” For that reason, once the meat is gone, the restaurant has to close for the day.
His partners in the business are Will Ragsdale and Randleman’s own Ryan Herring.
McKenzie said the restaurateurs have signed a lease to move in after the first of 2022. The restaurant is being designed by Fortuna, a firm that specializes in food service facilities. He said he doesn’t foresee any holdups besides getting signatures on documents. 
Steve Monninger, general contractor for the renovations, said all the preparatory work has been done. ‘Now it’s a matter of ordering equipment and materials.” He said the project is “using a lot of local companies.”

Upstairs, there will be three “executive suite” apartments with high ceilings and large rooms, two of them with two bedrooms and two and a half baths. The third will have one bedroom and one and a half baths. The original hardwood floors will be sanded and refinished, McKenzie said.
The largest will span the front of the building overlooking Fayetteville Street. An interior stairway will lead upstairs from the front door and open into a hallway down the center of the second floor. The other two apartments will be on opposite sides of the hall. Out the rear door is an exterior metal stairway leading to the basement-level parking garage.
The apartments will likely be completed before the restaurant but plans are to wait until after Black Powder opens before moving tenants in.

The building was constructed in 1948 by W.D. “Dock” Kivett to locate his Asheboro Electric Co., which took up the lower right side, according to Kivett’s nephew, Fred Strohmeyer. The lower left side eventually became the home of Fox Drugs before the pharmacy moved to Hillside Shopping Center farther south on Fayetteville Street.
Strohmeyer said his mother, Ruth Strohmeyer, ran her business, Asheboro Toy & Hobby Shop, across the street at what later became the home of Lee Printing. Around 1959, she moved her retail establishment next to Asheboro Electric, filling the vacancy left by Fox Drugs.
Strohmeyer said when he was in high school he helped his Uncle Dock Kivett by cleaning the upstairs offices, sweeping and mopping floors. He remembers that the National Guard held meetings upstairs before an armory was built on Church Street, which predated the current armory on Fayetteville Street just beyond Dixie Drive.
According to a 1967 Asheboro City Directory provided by Carlton Cheek, other offices upstairs included the engineering firm of Moore, Gardner & Associates, optometrist Dr. James P. Hill and the State Highway Commission locating engineer.
Strohmeyer said he also remembers that over the years there was a beauty shop in the building as well as a doctor’s office. He said that when his mother closed the Toy & Hobby Shop in the early 1980s, Scott’s Sporting Goods moved in. Later, there was a martial arts studio.
Strohmeyer said he’s happy to see the building getting new life. “It was a good building, well built,” he said. “I’m glad someone’s doing something with it.”