Bobby Q’s slow cooks its way out of Westport

By Reece Alvarez

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Bobby Q’s barbecue restaurant in downtown Westport is winding down through the remainder of winter until it serves its final slab of ribs in March.

“We’ve had an amazing run as a member of the Westport community for the past 11 years, establishing friendships and seeing kids grow up over the years,” said owner Bob LeRose.

The decision to close was as much his as it was due to the changing character of downtown Westport, he said.

“With the new landlord coming in we had lots of discussion on the future of that location, they had stressed their desire to redevelop the property,” LeRose said. “They in no way wanted to force us out. We still had several years on our lease, but as we evaluated everything we decided we had a good run in Westport and the timing was right to pursue other opportunities.”

Forstone Capital of Darien is set to redevelop the roughly 5,500 square foot space, though their intentions are not known. Requests for comment were not returned by Forstone.

LeRose said he will still retain his second restaurant, Bobby Q’s no-frills 12-seat sister in Greenwich, but the impending closing brings an end to more than 25 years of nearly continuous casual family dining in the Westport location, locally referred to as Main Street’s Onion Alley after the previous restaurant tenant who held the location for 18 years from 1984 to 2004.

LeRose said when Bobby Q’s first opened in 2004 he was the first barbecue restaurant in Westport and among a small group of restaurateurs to bring barbecue to Fairfield County. His love of Kansas City barbecue grew beyond Onion Alley to envelope the entire town beginning in 2008 with Bobby Q’s spearheading the creation of the annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival.

LeRose said the 2016 festival is still on schedule.

“I am sorry to see Bobby Q’s go,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

LeRose hints though that there may be plans for a new Fairfield County barbecue restaurant separate from the Bobby Q’s brand in the near future.

“If everything goes according to plan there will be a restaurant in 2016,” he said. “We love the business, we love barbecue and we would love to keep it going.”

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