Pitmaster Chris Terlikar has had a tumultuous ride running Bluebonnet Barbecue, his acclaimed American barbeque restaurant.

The venue’s first permanent home in Collingwood burned down in a fire caused by his smoker, Loretta, in 2015.

A pop-up at the Curtin followed, before the chef found a semi-permanent spot at the old North Fitzroy Star. The short-term lease acquired at the North Fitzroy pub was always tenuous; the building is marked by developers to be turned into townhouses.

Now Terlikar has signed a 20-year lease on Lygon Street in the same set of shops as Atticus Finch and Bar Idda.

“It feels great, we’ve all worked really hard to bring it all together,” Terlikar tells Broadsheet. “We’ve been negotiating this for the last two or three months and finally got what we were looking for.”

He’ll be taking over the site currently occupied by Luxor Lounge, which previously operated as shisha bar Sahara Nights.

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“We went in there thinking: ‘What the hell are we doing?’ but started looking into it a bit further and under all the office roof panelling there are beautiful wooden boards [and a] corrugated-iron ceiling with massive timber beams. It’s got really good bones,” says Terlikar.

The plan is to have an open kitchen with the smokers on display and some walls and archways will be knocked down. Although building applications are still being approved, Terlikar is hoping for a 1am licence and an extension on the current 150 capacity up to 200. Tentative plans are to open in the middle of May.

As a final send off the venue will bring back “All You Can Meat”, the $55 bottomless barbecue challenge from March 5 to 23, leading to a final party weekend before the doors are shut at the North Fitzroy Star on March 26.