Downtown Barbecue Joint Calls it Quits
SAN ANGELO, TX — Peepsi’s Barbecue received lauding reviews, especially for its pulled pork sandwiches featuring pork topped with coleslaw and flavored with the delicious Peepsi’s barbecue sauce. But good food wasn’t enough to keep the joint open at the former Sealy Flats café building.
John Young, proprietor of Rio Concho Catering and a patriarch of the Concho Pearl on S. Chadbourne St., said late Friday that there just wasn’t enough business downtown to justify paying the rent at the café building.
He said Peepsi’s barbecue will still be available, except the delicious barbecue will be sold as branded items on the Concho Pearl’s main menu.
Young founded Peepsi’s at his rented building on Sunset in 2014 to good reviews. He thought there was some value in moving the barbecue joint downtown. More authenticity, he thought, especially in the former home of San Angelo's much-adored Sealy Flats café location.
“The traffic just wasn’t there,” Young said this afternoon. “Why pay rent on a second location when it wasn’t a force multiplier for your business?”
Young owns the property where Concho Pearl, a bustling restaurant with rear patio and stage, on S. Chadbourne St is.
But the former location of Sealy Flats closer to the heart of downtown, at 208 S. Oakes St., and home of the blues, has a track record of failed ventures.
Founder Rod Bridgman fixed the place up from nothing in 2008 and organically grew his blues bar concept over several years. But even with paying no rent, Bridgeman decided to shut it down and retire. Bridgman attempted to lease the café to Randy Coleman in 2013. Coleman said profitability at the location was difficult because of the limited indoor seating and the outdoor “patio” is susceptible to harsh summer heat and freezing winters. It wasn’t consistent. Coleman called it quits in November 2013, barely two months into the operations agreement. See Why the Music Died at Sealy Flats.
Bentwood Country Club manager Kevin Collins leased the café next. He put money into restoring the patio stage and brought in Jeska Bailey as a partner to handle band bookings and live entertainment. Collins made a strong effort at making the place profitable, but after 14 months, he shut it down. Profitability just wasn’t there, Collins said then. Though, Collins offered to buy just the Café, but Bridgman turned down his offer, opting to sell the café along with the bed and breakfast next door to the partners of the House of Fifi DuBois. See Inside the Struggle to Keep Sealy Flats Alive.
The Fifi partners now have an empty café next to their bed and breakfast. All eyes are on them now. Will they finally pull off a successful venture in the Café, or sell it? Their first move in 2015 was to rename the bed and breakfast “Flamingo Flats,” disavowing the historical and highly marketable Sealy Flats brand.