“It has been a amazing journey. I am overwhelmed with the outpour of support from this community”

Cookeville – Bobby Q’s is re-opening on April 11.

Last year, Cookeville residents noticed progress on the former home of Bobby-Q’s BBQ and Fish (Bobby-Q’s) restaurant. First, it was a new sign, and then work began on what looked to be a patio at 428 E. Broad Street in Cookeville. The public could see a pulse in a shuttered business.

In Oct., the Upper Cumberland Business Journal reported Michael King, of Nashville-based Monell’s, had announced plans to reopen the beloved restaurant because of love for “traditions, to mom and pops across this nation, and to keeping a Tennessean tradition going since 1985!”

It seems a lot of progress has been made as of late. Recently, Lee Gann, Bobby Q’s pitmaster, updated that progress with a statement on Bobby Q’s Facebook page.

“Bobby Qs original owner Mike Migliore, some you know as “Big Mike”, has been battling a serious illness for the last few years,” said Gann. “Our staff, since 2020, worked around the clock, understaffed, double shifts and took on roles that were not their jobs trying to help keep it going. 2020 was hard to recover from as it was for most small businesses.”

Challenges are easier to overcome with support, according to Gann.

“It has been an amazing journey,” continued Gann. “I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from this community …. You guys are truly amazing!”

The journey has been long. Fighting to stay afloat, as is the case with many small businesses over the last few years, has been a challenge. Gann said clarity came when Bobby Q’s staff realized they “could no longer do all this alone.”

“We did everything to keep the doors open because we love this place and the community we serve,“ said Gann. “… The decision to close did not come lightly. It was hard. Not only was it hard for our staff, but it was especially hard for Mike and Jane.”

Bobby-Q’s has been a part of the community for decades.

“Mike (Migliore) devoted 35 years to this business. We want to make him proud,” continued Gann.

Gann says King’s passion for mom-and-pops and small business opened the door for a new chapter.

“He came in with the mindset to lift this business up, keep it going and make much needed changes to make it successful while keeping the traditions of this place alive so it’s around for another 35 years,” said Gann. “He has been a blessing to the Bobby-Q’s family and to my family as well.”

Despite maintaining tradition, there will be a few changes once the doors reopen.

“We have changed the way you order and receive food,” said Gann. “It will be counter order. This will allow us to serve you quicker, with more accuracy, and give you more time to enjoy your food and atmosphere.”

The menu has changed, yet remained the same.

Gann explains.

“We are keeping all our staple items,” said Gann. “Our main focus is going to be barbecue-related dishes, as it should be. After all, we are a barbecue restaurant.”

They will keep ribs, pork, poolroom slaw, fried catfish, hush puppies and banana pudding on the menu. Along with those favorites, many of Monell’s most popular dishes, such as fried chicken, green beans, brisket, smoked chicken and Turkey, will be added.

“And we will be offering breakfast,” said Gann.

Hours of operation, official menu and grand opening information will be announced soon.

“We want to thank all of you for the love and support through this whole process,” admitted Gann in the statement. “Without you guys, none of this would have been possible. Stay tuned folks because we are almost there.”

Photo courtesy of Bobby Q’s Facebook page.

Ron Moses is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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