A Reuben from Missouri Mike's BBQ
There is a lot of attention to detail in Missouri Mike's take on the Reuben. It starts with the corned beef brisket which is seasoned with pan-toasted spices that are ground in house. (Photo by Missouri Mike's BBQ)

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Missouri Mike's BBQ will close at the end of the business day on Saturday, April 27.

“It is what it is; we're closing down,” owner Mike Hickman, 44, said Wednesday.

“When I got into this, one of the very first things that somebody I had a conversation with who's been in the industry told me is that I'm going to have to make a decision: Do you want to make great food? Or do you want to be great at restaurants. The difference is passion-and-quality versus profit.”

Hickman said he always focused on the quality of the food.

He created his barbecue business on at 2833 W. Chestnut Expressway in 2020, and later expanded with a second site at 1724 E. Battlefield. The Battlefield location closed in October.

Hickman wrote about his decision to close Missouri Mike's BBQ on the business's Facebook page, starting with how it started.

“I built a smoker and had fun on Sundays at my tire shop making food for me and my friends,” he wrote. “Super Bowl came around and I sold 3,000 wings in a parking lot and got in trouble with the health department.”

Hickman owns M.D. Hickman Auto & Tire.

“I have put in insane hours, poured my heart and soul into food and gained a lifetime of debt thinking it'll be alright …. WRONG…it's not alright. We have to stop this madness … so we are abruptly closing and it's not by choice really,” he wrote

Hickman started with a food truck and then used space on Chestnut Expressway.

Gift cards will be good through the end of the business day Saturday. Scheduled catering will be honored until Friday; after that date, catering fees already paid will be refunded.

Boycotted vodka from Russia after invasion

He wrote: “Along the way, me and the staff pulled off some AMAZING CHARITY events.
We fed the homeless 2,500 WAGYU meals for Christmas one year. We went to Louisiana and fed 10,000 meals in two trips to the hurricane victims. We have done school lunches, worked with the Salvation Army, friends of the firefighters.

“I have met some of the best and some of the worst people ever because of food.”

In a phone conversation with the Hauxeda, Hickman said he was calling other restaurants trying to find jobs for his employees.

He was featured in a Feb. 28, 2022 news story in the Daily Citizen.

Mike Hickman, owner of Missouri Mike's, samples his new drink concoction in February 2022. It's called “Eff-Putin” and is in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. (Photo: Missouri Mikes)

Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Missouri Mike's stopped using all Russian vodka when making drinks. Hickman replaced it with a vodka made in Ukraine.

In addition, he created a new version of a screwdriver that he named “Eff-Putin.” It was made with vodka floating atop orange juice.

In the “Eff-Putin,” blue food coloring was added to make the colors of the Ukrainian flag — blue and yellow.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Hauxeda. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@hauxeda.com. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin