Gold Medal BBQ’s block party Saturday will celebrate community, restaurant’s first anniversary

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Succeeding in the restaurant business can challenge even the most seasoned entrepreneur. Kyle Clemons, owner of Gold Medal BBQ, recognizes the importance of community in ushering his restaurant through its first year in a downtown Lawrence brick-and-mortar building.

“We’re here because of community. That’s the only reason we’re still open,” he said of the business, which begin in a food truck.

As one of only a few Black-owned restaurants in Lawrence, Kyle said he feels thankful for the support he and his wife and business partner, Christina Clemons, have received from the entire community.

“That means a lot, that people are still supporting us even though we don’t look necessarily like them,” he said. “We’re thankful for the support of the community to keep it open as long as we have. We’re going for another year.”

On Saturday, the couple will toast that success with a street party at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Music, games, a bounce house, drinks, sides, sweets and smoked meats — like the mac and cheese-stuffed turkey legs shown below — will all be available.

For more about Gold Medal BBQ’s fare, check out this food review.

Attendees might even get to compete with an Olympian. Sprinter Kyle and hurdler Christina each will recruit a relay team for a friendly competition. A singing and talent contest is on tap, too.

“It’s gonna be fun,” Kyle said.

The family-focused portion of the party runs from noon to 4 p.m. at 900 New Hampshire St., Suite B. Children 7 and younger can enter the block party for free, and tickets cost $5 for kids ages 8-12. Tickets for those 13 and older are $10. Entry fees can be paid at the event or online for a small processing fee and include access to music and a DJ, games and the bounce house.

Food and drink will be available for purchase. Gold Medal BBQ’s food truck and tents featuring Lemon Smashers and Suga Bae’s Gourmet Apples will be on-site.

A street party for ages 18 and older runs from 6 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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