An icon in local barbeque is now downtown. The taste and experience of Cobb’s BBQ is now available at Retro Downtown Barbeque at 500 Texas Street, just across from the Caddo Parish Courthouse. The business is a partnership between Retro Down Town Cafe owner Kristi Tift and Shawn Feaster, a 30-year employee of the former Cobb’s in Bossier City, and its pitmaster for the last ten years.
Cobb’s had a place in local hearts for 70 years. It was a family-owned dive in the best sense of the word, a place that was comfortable and welcoming and where the front of house- especially owners Sue and Joe Cobb- knew your name, and the back of the house- pitmaster Shawn- knew exactly what you liked to eat and how you wanted it prepared. It was a perfect combination up until it wasn’t. In January, Cobb’s shocked friends and even employees and closed. What were Cobb’s BBQ lovers to do? During the following months of COVID-19 closures and restaurant struggles – the dreaded business ‘pivot’- Retro Down Town Cafe’s Kristi Tift was rallying all resources to stay viable. Her small bakery at 500 Texas was becoming more of a burden than a blessing. She knew that downtown lacked an option for bar-be-que and when she realized that Shawn was also considering future options, she felt that they could help each other. “I don’t think he understands how amazing he is,” Kristi told me recently. The two seem a perfect union. Shawn isn’t crazy about the paperwork of owning a restaurant so Kristi will do that for him, allowing Shawn to do what he loves best- cook barbeque.
If you’re familiar with the menu at Cobb’s you will feel right at home at Shawn’s new place. The 70-year tradition will continue with the same recipes, the same chicken, turkey, beef, ribs, and hot links for plates or sandwiches, beans, cole slaw, potato salad and signature peach cobbler. The famous meat grinder that was part of Cobb’s from the beginning has made the trip with Shawn across the river, and Shawn’s myriad kitchen skills which include being able to peel a box of potatoes in about five minutes, will serve him well.
Even better, Shawn will now be able to mingle more with customers, and as Kristi says, ‘show off his great personality.’ He will be the glue holding the business together, the next generation of this local restaurant’s story. For the first few weeks, Shawn and Kristi will be feeling out
hours of operation but intend to start with six days a week, Monday- Saturday, 11 am- 3 pm. Shawn will close for a couple of hours (maybe) and re-group, then re-open at 5 pm until 8 or 9 pm, depending on the crowd. All this might change and might not… the one thing that won’t is that great BBQ and plenty of it will be available when the doors are open.
WHERE TO PARK– We expect that a lot of folks who aren’t used to downtown will be coming to visit Shawn’s new restaurant and that is great. We have a few tips to make your parking experience easier. Remember that all on-street parking is pay parking between 8 am- and 5 pm Mon.-Fri. If you park at a space with a meter, you can pay with quarters ($0.25 per half hour, $0.50 per hour) or pay with the very handy Parkmobile app, which allows you to use a credit card AND make any space a 3-hour space. You will need to download and set up the app before you come downtown. It’s easy and Parkmobile is used in cities around the country so if you travel, you can use it often. There are often spaces available on side streets. Just make the block a few times and you will find something.
All surface lots downtown are pay parking, and may require correct change. If you don’t pay, they will ticket you. The parking lot adjacent to The Missing Link is for their patrons and tenants only, please do not park there.
The lot at the head of Texas Street across from First United Methodist Church (the lot surrounded by the brick fence) is going to start offering LUNCH PARKING from 11:30- 1:30 for 2 dollars. Again, please have correct change available. We are also working with other lots to start a LUNCH PARKING option.