An almost 5-year run in the Fountains Building looks to be over for a national barbecue chain in Cedar Rapids.

We don't have a lot of details about exactly when Billy Sims Barbecue closed, but our source says it's been "dark" for at least a couple of weeks. We gave you the first look shortly before they opened in May of 2017.

Beyond our best guess that the restaurant fell victim to the struggles of many others like it during the coronavirus pandemic, we haven't been able to get a hold of anyone with Billy Sims to find out why they've closed. But this isn't exactly surprising news, especially given the growing profile of one particular locally-owned barbecue joint.

"Willie Ray's Q Shack", owned and operated by Willie Ray Fairley not only serves delicious food locally but, starting with the August 10, 2020 derecho and beyond that to other parts of the country, Fairley has made it his mission to travel to places suffering disasters and feed victims for free. Derecho victims in Cedar Rapids, Winter storm victims in Texas, those in Louisiana who struggled after Hurricane Ida as well as tornado victims in Kentucky, have all been beneficiaries of his help. He's also won humanitarian awards for his efforts, which even a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL veteran Billy Sims name on the door apparently couldn't compete with.

As the sign says, though, if you're still needing your Billy Sims fix here in Iowa, you'll need to go to Burlington.

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