Honey Bear’s BBQ closes iconic central Phoenix restaurant

Owners Mark and Anna Smith had some good news for people who love Honey Bear’s BBQ.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 9:36 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – It’s been an icon in central Phoenix for decades – Honey Bear’s BBQ on Central Avenue on the south side of Thomas Road. The owners recently sold the unique A-frame building surrounded by high-rises, so the place has served its last plates of ribs and pulled pork and is now closed.

But owners Mark and Anna Smith had some good news for people who love Honey Bear’s BBQ. The Van Buren location, which has been around longer than the central Phoenix restaurant, is open and thriving. “Honey Bear’s is still in the game, Mark Smith said. “We haven’t stopped. We’re just changing the way we’re doing it.” The plan is for the Honey Bear’s on Van Buren Street east of 48th Street is to focus on to-go orders. Smith also said he’s “looking for more locations.”

Like many other businesses on the Central Avenue corridor, Honey Bear’s ran into tough times with the construction of the Valley Metro light rail in 2008. But when the pandemic hit, the business took a major hit, forcing the Smiths into a difficult decision. It’s not one they made lightly.

As for that iconic A-frame building, Smith told Arizona’s Family another well-known barbecue spot bought it.

There’s no shortage of great barbecue in the Valley. The Arizona’s Family Foodie has you covered with his Barbecue Series.

Honey Bear's BBQ has been a Phoenix icon for decades.
Honey Bear's BBQ has been a Phoenix icon for decades.(Arizona's Family)
The restaurant is well known for its secret Tennessee barbecue flavors and sauces, unlike any...
The restaurant is well known for its secret Tennessee barbecue flavors and sauces, unlike any that can be found in Arizona.(Arizona's Family)
The unique A-frame building surrounded by high-rises has been sold.
The unique A-frame building surrounded by high-rises has been sold.(Arizona's Family)
Like many businesses on Central Avenue, Honey Bear's took a hit with light rail construction in...
Like many businesses on Central Avenue, Honey Bear's took a hit with light rail construction in 2008. Then there was the pandemic.(Arizona's Family)
While the central Phoenix location is closed, the restaurant's original location on Van Buren...
While the central Phoenix location is closed, the restaurant's original location on Van Buren Street is still open.(Arizona's Family)
The Van Buren location will focus on to-go orders.
The Van Buren location will focus on to-go orders.(Arizona's Family)