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Back by popular demand: West Texas-style barbecue joint is expanding its storefront operations

LEMON GROVE, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) – After announcing their restaurant opening last weekend, the owners of a popular West Texas-style barbecue joint in East County said they will remain open due to popular demand.

Bradick Cooper, owner of Coop’s West Texas BBQ, said since he announced he was closing his business last Tuesday, people from all over San Diego County have been waiting in line to dine at his restaurant.

The pitmaster at Coop’s BBQ in Lemon Grove will continue to fire up the smoker on weekends for the next few months.

“When people heard about our closing, there was such love that it literally brought tears to my eyes when I came out here and saw the line all the way to the street,” Cooper said.

Cooper fell in love with barbecue years ago while visiting his father in Texas.

“He had a huge barbecue area. I had never seen anything like it. We fired it up and put ribs and brisket on it. It was like the sound of the fire was calling my name,” Cooper said.

Cooper was a trained nurse before opening his BBQ restaurant and pursuing a new dream. But after COVID-19, the company was plagued by financial difficulties.

“2023 was our slowest year ever. Things weren’t looking any better by 2024,” Cooper added. “It got to a point where I was worried about how I was going to pay my bills and my employees. How do I keep the lights on, even in my home? We didn’t make any money.”

When news of its closure spread, people immediately started visiting the restaurant and as it was its busiest time yet. People from Point Loma, Scripps Ranch and San Carlos have come to order and support the company.

“Let me tell you, where else are you going to find it?” I’ve tried BBQ all over the county. North County, East County, South County and the West. This is good, good food,” Cathy LaSota said.

“We’re from Virginia and we value our BBQ, and they have it. So here we are,” said Point Loma resident Susie Bradley.

The Coopers had planned to close their doors permanently last weekend after seeing a sharp decline in business in recent years due to the pandemic.

After seeing a huge turnout from the community over what was supposed to be its final few days, Coop’s BBQ decided to stay open as late as possible on the weekends.

“We flipped the script! With the support and encouragement of our community, we have decided to open the restaurant Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or when we sell out!” Owners Brad and Tara Cooper stated on Instagram Sunday.

This news might come as a relief to those who still want to enjoy the brand’s meaty delights. Their legacy of grilling pork ribs, brisket, jerk chicken, and more is sure to continue.

Brad Cooper
Pitmaster Brad Cooper holds some smoked meat. (Source: Coop’s BBQ)

When it comes time for the restaurant to close its doors, the Coopers plan to shift their focus to catering and pop-up events throughout San Diego County.

“We want to continue serving you in San Diego, but we need your support,” said the Co-op’s BBQ owners. “I’m truly blessed to be able to do this.”

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