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Owner Richard Bert will return to catering and a food truck at the Bite of Newberg on First Street

Bert's Chuckwagon BBQ at 203 Villa Road officially closed its doors March 17.

The business operated for about two-and-a-half years before owner Richard Bert decided to downsize and focus on the food cart and catering side of the operation instead. GARY ALLEN - Bert's Chuckwagon BBQ owner Richard Bert will serve his tasty treats out of a trailer at the Bite of Newberg after closing his restaurant recently.

The sudden purchase of the building came as a surprise for Bert, he said, as he was considering selling the place but had not yet made any efforts to find a buyer. When the opportunity came to sell the building, he jumped on it.

"It was not difficult to find a buyer. They approached me to buy my big food cart and knowing that eventually they wanted to open a restaurant, I said, 'Well, why don't you buy this one and have a restaurant?" Bert said. "I didn't really think that they were going to do it, but they did."

Bert's decided to close down a portion of his business and return to a smaller operation.

"I'm just tired of working 100 hours a week," Bert said. "It's a good move; we're going back to the food cart."

The good news is that sizzling briskets and sandwiches will continue to be served as Bert's Chuckwagon BBQ will join the circle of businesses at the Bite of Newberg food cart pod. He expects to open April 4 and will keep hours from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sunday. He still has two catering kitchens that he rents by the hour and will continue with his catering business for festivals and events.

Although Bert is downsizing, he still has other projects in the works.

"My brother and I have had a building over in McMinnville for over three years that we've been working on to turn it into a brewery and tap room," Bert said. "I still am busy, but I won't be as much. It's time."

With five grandchildren and another due in July, Bert said "I want to enjoy them (my grandkids) and my wife and try not to work so hard. It was a rough year last year, so I'm trying to cut my hours back. It's a lot of work and lot of hours trying to run a restaurant, and the hardest part is finding good employees."

Information on what will take the place of Bert's on Villa Road is scant beyond rumors that it will be bistro, but nonetheless the former tenant wished them well.

"I hope it works for them and I hope this move works for us. We'll see what happens. I love Newberg and that's why I am in Newberg. I couldn't just leave. I could have brought my cart over to McMinnville and started up in a day or two, but I like Newberg and want to stay around," he said.

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