Acclaimed barbecue restaurant Hang Fire Southern Kitchen in Barry has closed permanently due to a shortage of hospitality staff.
The venue, owned by Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn, opened in 2016 and was named Restaurant of the Year by The Observer Food Monthly in 2018.
The team said the smokehouse restaurant has always been fully booked and fed 320,000 customers since launch, but a lack of staff has forced it to shut for good on 25 August.
A post on the restaurant's website said: "The Hang Fire Southern Kitchen in Barry has been the jewel in the crown of Wales' restaurant scene since 2016, boasting a fully booked guest list since we opened and winning multiple national awards for our innovative take on American BBQ. But now, the state of hospitality recruitment and staff shortages post-pandemic has finally forced our well-loved restaurant to close its doors permanently.
"The legacy of the first Hang Fire restaurant will live on in our hearts. It's been one of the most rewarding and challenging projects we've ever undertaken, and truly, it's been nothing without our customers and existing staff team – and both have always been incredibly dedicated.
"We're leaving on a high note, without ever compromising the quality and service that we're so famous for. We thank every customer and friend for supporting us over the years."
In July the restaurant announced it would be cutting its opening hours from five days a week to three due to "chronic and persistent staff shortages", having lost five of its senior kitchen team since May 2020.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of empty hospitality roles hit a record high of 117,000 between May and July this year.
Numerous operators have told The Caterer they have had to cut opening hours, reduce menu sizes and in some cases delay opening due to a shortage of staff.