Cotten’s Bar-B-Que in Arlington to close Feb. 28 after 36 years

Owners Fred Jr. and Yvonne Cotten said they are retiring and ready to “relax a little.”

  • By Dan Macdonald
  • | 11:14 a.m. February 21, 2023
  • | 5 Free Articles Remaining!
Cotten’s Bar-B-Que owners and spouses Yvonne and Fred Cotten Jr. posted this image on their restaurant's Facebook page.
Cotten’s Bar-B-Que owners and spouses Yvonne and Fred Cotten Jr. posted this image on their restaurant's Facebook page.
Cotten’s Bar-B-Que
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Cotten’s Bar-B-Que at 2048 Rogero Road in Arlington will close Feb. 28.

Owners and spouses Fred Jr. and Yvonne Cotten decided to retire 36 years after opening the restaurant in 1987.

“We wanted to enjoy what little time we have left,” said Yvonne Cotten. She is 77 and Fred Cotten is 80.

She said both are in good health.

“We are going to play it by ear and relax a little,” she said

The building will be sold in the coming weeks, Yvonne Cotten said Feb. 21.

Because the sale is not final, she is not disclosing details about the buyer or its future use. She said that if it opens again as a barbecue restaurant they will sell the business and its recipes in the deal.

Cotten’s Bar-B-Que at 2048 Rogero Road in Arlington.
Cotten’s Bar-B-Que

Cotten’s Bar-B-Que is known for its pork dishes and ribs, she said.

Cotten’s Bar-B-Que in Arlington is not affiliated with Fred Cotten’s Landmark BBQ at 1417 N. Main St. in Springfield.

Fred Cotten Sr. open his original restaurant at 17th and Main streets in 1947.

The original became renowned as a spot for politicians to gather when Jake Godbold was mayor. He frequented the restaurant as a boy and continued until it closed in 2014.

Melanie Dosztan bought the Springfield location and reopened it 2015. In 2018 it moved to its current location.

By morning on Feb. 21, the Arlington restaurant’s Facebook page had received 90 shares and 98 comments. Those meant a lot to Yvonne Cotten.

“If you look at the Cotten’s Facebook page you’d see an outpouring that has made us feel real good. We have a lot of people who have been wonderful to us over the years,” she said.

Since the announcement, the restaurant has been busy with many familiar faces as well as those who haven’t been in for a while, she said.

The restaurant has seven employees. They were given several weeks notice of the closing.

The Cottens have been at the restaurant nearly every day since opening. Yvonne Cotten said she has eaten barbecue every day since they opened.

“I may have to ask my husband to buy a grill so that he can cook for me at home,” she said.



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