GottaQ expanding to former Casa Vallarta space

GottaQ expanding to former Casa Vallarta space

Staff at GottaQ in Cumberland say they’re excited to expand to the former Casa Vallarta space next year. From left are Kate Bagwell, Mike Strout, Anthony Mardenly and Michael Parker. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

CUMBERLAND – GottaQ BBQ, a barbecue restaurant on Mendon Road, is set to continue its rapid growth with a move to the end cap space previously occupied by Casa Vallarta Mexican Restaurant in the Cumberland Plaza at 2000 Mendon Road.

GottaQ owner Michael Strout told The Valley Breeze that the move, planned for next spring, will increase his company’s physical space from 24 seats to 150 seats, creating a true themed destination restaurant where those who have long requested the full Texas-style barbecue experience of seeing their food being cooked will get to experience just that.

The actual physical footprint of the restaurant will balloon from 400 square feet to some 3,500 square feet by moving a couple spots down from the restaurant’s current space, said Anthony Mardenly, of GottaQ.

GottaQ has been expanding its presence regionally and nationally, winning Best Food Truck BBQ from Mobile Cuisine Magazine. The slow-cooked meats here remain second to none, said Strout.

“Our push really is for a national reputation,” he said.

But the company has also put a huge emphasis on community, he said, supporting other restaurants and helping local groups and organizations wherever possible while offering food at many town events.

“We have a presence in Cumberland,” he said.

The restaurant will be applying for a full liquor license as part of its move. Also planned as part of the expansion is a small stage for musical acts.

The menu itself will also grow as part of the planned move, with many of the restaurant’s specials, such as smoked prime rib, beef ribs and burnt ends becoming full-time menu items, and new items, such as corned beef and pastrami, added. Craft beers and whiskeys will also be added.

The restaurant’s off-site commissary will be merged with the restaurant, which now acts as home base for three food trucks, a festival trailer and two smoker trailers. Strout plans to boost the competition aspect of his restaurant, which first opened four years ago.

The space occupied by GottaQ currently is little more than a “Subway shop that sells barbecue” in look and feel, said Strout, who said he’s looking forward to opening a fully themed restaurant.

“Nobody gets the full experience right now,” he said.

Strout says he has no qualms about filling a space where many restaurants have come and gone. None of those restaurants had the resputation GottaQ has, he said.

Owners of Casa Vallarta, in a post Dec. 3, announced that restaurant’s permanent closure.

“It was a pleasure serving the community of Cumberland and surrounding cities and we appreciate all the love and support you displayed these five years,” the post read. “For those who purchased gift certificates for the holidays we will announce soon what are your options. Thank you, amigos.”

The Casa Vallarta owners encouraged patrons to go instead to Bandidos Mexican Restaurant near Town Hall on Broad Street.

For more on GottaQ, visit www.gottaq.com .