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Community helps keep beloved Lemon Grove BBQ restaurant open

Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 20:48:33-04

LEMON GROVE, Calif. (KGTV) — After announcing its closure, a beloved Texas BBQ restaurant in Lemon Grove is back open thanks to an outpour of community support.

Brad Cooper, who's from Midland, Texas, opened Coop's BBQ on Lemon Grove Avenue in 2010.

The restaurant is known for its big, bold and smokey flavors.

"The combination of heat and smoke from the wood just gives it an outstanding flavor," Cooper said.

Last Tuesday, Cooper announced on Facebook that he was closing the restaurant after 13 years.

He said he lost business due to inflation and high gas prices, which meant fewer people traveling for his BBQ.

"I'm tired of the anxiety of wondering if I'm going to have enough money to pay my employees, wondering if I'm going to be able to keep the lights on," Cooper said.

But on what was supposed to be the last weekend open, people came out in droves to show their support.

The lines were wrapped around the corner of the building.

"I just literally knelt over and shed some tears. I was like... I thought we were forgotten," he said.

The outpour of support encouraged Cooper to stay open, but only from Friday through Sunday.

Ron Calabrese and his uncle made sure to stop by.

"We were here at 9:30. There was already a line," Calabrese said.

"It's always been a wonderful place to eat and great people," said Steve Smith, Calabrese's uncle.

Cooper said as long as the community continues to show up, he'll be here with his smoker and his pits serving up good ol' Texas BBQ.

Coop's BBQ is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday through Sunday. They also cater.