Beach Pit BBQ, which started with six Orange County locations, is down to three after its most recent closure in Aliso Viejo.
Beach Pit BBQ closed its Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach restaurants in the fall.
Owner Tim DeCinces cited high rent costs and the mall setting that made the three locations fail.
"BBQ isn't a staple for Southern Californians like tacos, burgers or pizza. It is more of an experience or novelty dining choice," DeCinces said in an email. "Going into strip mall lost the character of visiting our original three stores. In addition, we had to compete with other dining options such as tacos, burgers, pizza and sandwiches that people eat more often."
DeCinces said the remaining locations in Costa Mesa, Tustin and Old Towne Orange provide an experience and ambience that's appealing to its patrons. Costa Mesa has the feeling of a backyard BBQ, he said, and Tustin's location is housed in a historic Roadhouse garage.