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Oct 13, 2013 11:18 AM

Coop's Closing?

Rumor has it that Coop's is struggling and thinking about closing? Anyone know if there's any truth to that rumor, or is it just that, a rumor?

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  1. His FB page has an impassioned plea for business

    1. Wonder if he overextended himself with that second location. Fingers crossed.

      1. Noooooo!!!! NO!!! WTF??? They can't close.

        1. They have to adapt to the San Diego restaurant rule - no craft beer, no burger, no success

          33 Replies
          1. re: honkman

            And/or the San Diego market BBQ rule. Meat smoked low and slow over wood. Nah, "finish it off on the grill and douse it with sauce" so you can replicate Phil's success.

            1. re: foodiechick

              You make an interesting point FC, I like Coop's, however what is the palate of SD'ians? Probably as you state, grill it to death and slather with Heinz. I do think being in LG is a big challenge but, my thought is the rent is reasonable and allows him to stay open. For me, I have no issue with the trek but, others may. I hope he can continue. If I had a choice, I'd like to see him in PB, OB or MB.

              1. re: cstr

                Part of the problem is that he probably would not be able to run his operation in PB, OB, or MB - any neighbors would never go for the smoke. In fact, I doubt he could even do that on ECB in La Mesa, much less west of here.

                1. re: RB Hound

                  Actually, I think he could in La Mesa, particularly if he were in the area around where Carnitas Uruapan is, or on the other side of the 125/94 interchange on the Casa de Oro side.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    At that point, he might as well be in Lemon Grove.

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Actually, I think Lemon Grove is a better location than either that end of La Mesa or Lemon Grove.

                      I was basically being a smart a** and replying to RBs post, which I may - or may not - have misread. I think there are areas in La Mesa where he probably could set up shop and do reasonably well. It's easier to get to than Lemon Grove (think I-8 vs. SR 94)

                    2. re: DiningDiva

                      I'm not sure that location would be all that much better, Diva.

                      I think if you were able to place Coop's near some major employment hub it would do a heck of a lot better at lunch.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          Fakey - I was going to suggest that he move to the KraftBeerCorridor, but we are already getting Supernatural Sandwiches and I didn't want to be that greedy.

                        2. re: RB Hound

                          Possible. We don't mind the drive, but we're in Alpine so everything is a drive. However if he was located slightly closer, say, in La Mesa or El Cajon, we would probably eat there more.

                      1. re: RB Hound


                        Phils was nearly run out of Mission Hills, and he doesn't even smoke- just grill. He ended up installing something like $150k of scrubbers, and still it was smokey for other businesses in the area.

                        MrsName and I were in Austin a few months ago, and the line for Franklins was HOURS long- I wouldn't even stay. While I suspect Coops is not quite at that level, he's certainly the best SD has to offer. Lines should be at least a half-hour long.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          Ehhh, you should have hopped in the car and driven down to Lockhart. There you would have had your choice of 3 places. No super long lines.

                          1. re: littlestevie

                            Yeah, I tried Green Mesquite and it sucked.

                            (oh, wait. The culture was interesting.)

                            1. re: Fake Name

                              You missed Black's, you missed BBQ in Lockhart.

                              1. re: deckape

                                Yes, Black's was heaven on earth. Had snacks at Smitty's and Kreuz's, both were very good. Did not try Green Mesquite

                        2. re: RB Hound

                          Not sure about that, ever smell the odor from a Sammy's Wood Fired Pizza place? They're all over SD. Smoke grabbers would probably would be cost prohibited for Coop's.

                          1. re: cstr

                            I think there's smoke, and then there's smoke. I believe smoker smoke is burning a lot of fat, and Sammy's isn't.

                            But we're all assuming he's got costs under control, etc. Maybe he's taking a huge salary or something? I doubt it, but there are a lot of factors in the equation.

                            I hope he survives- second best in town, best one can buy.

                        3. re: cstr

                          Tough to hear that Coop's is struggling. I think location does have a bit something to do with it, as that trek to LG does represent a barrier to some. The exposure of his restaurant just isn't the same. However, I think the bigger issue is the notion of what constitutes BBQ for San Diegans. I've always enjoyed Phil's, until I lived in Texas, which completely changed my perception of BBQ. BBQ in Texas is all about time & smoke and that notion, appreciation, and tradition has been around for a while. It's something that is missing in SD, partially due to the unavailability of it for so long. The type of BBQ that Phil's serves up is probably more familiar to most people. It's a catch-22, but hopefully something that a place like Coop's can break. I wish him the best.

                      2. re: honkman

                        Craft beer + legit BBQ should bring in business. Lemon Grove is a bit of a haul, though. He probably would have killed on ECB.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Coop's isn't all that far from one of the better stocked (in craft beer) liquor stores that few people know about or visit. It is called "Palm Springs Liquor", which seems incredibly illogical until you look at their location on the map (on Palm less than a block from Spring, in La Mea).

                          Seriously, I think you've hit it on the nose, though - location, location, location.

                          1. re: RB Hound

                            Not sure if it is the location and not more as FC wrote that people are more used to enjoy (and expect) modified ketchup like at Phils than BBQ

                            1. re: honkman

                              Thought experiment: would people drive to Lemon Grove for Phil's?

                              1. re: Josh

                                Ooo. Good question from our Great Northern Friend.

                                I suspect not.

                                'Nother question: Does Phil's sell fetish beer?

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  Last time I was at Phil's they had some decent beers available. Unfortunately most of their customers are philistines so they need a good stock of macro swill to placate the pedestrian palates.

                                  They once had AleSmith Anvil ESB which is a great beer for pairing with meat that's been bathed in burned sugar sauce.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    Philistines. Love it. Reminds me of the movie Big Night.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      "Unfortunately most of their customers are philistines so they need a good stock of macro swill to placate the pedestrian palates."

                                      You'll be thrilled to learn Karl Strauss is releasing *Peanut Butter Porter* soon at Hamiltons.
                                       Obviously for those of higher taste and sensibility.

                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                        Someone else (Mother Earth Brewing?) had a peanut butter porter at Stone's Anniversary Party ... and it was awesome.
                                        My wife, my dad and I all went back for seconds.

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          Excellent. I hope they will be handing out monocles and smoking jackets to convey the high degree of erudition implied by such a concoction.

                                    2. re: Josh

                                      Great though experiment! I think probably. It's kind of a hive mind mentality, much the same as Cheesecake Factory.

                                        1. re: Josh

                                          With the current name recognition in SD I think people also would drive to Lemon Grove (not on the same level as they do with the current location but more than enough to keep them open)

                                          1. re: Josh

                                            I think it would depend upon where in Lemon Grove he was located, how accessible it was and how much free parking was available.

                                            But Phil's demographic has never been the East County/Lemon Grove crowd. Santee was his concession to the East County and he's done phenomenal business there.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                Makes getting into the General Lee all that much, ahem, better.