CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The name Cotten has been synonymous with delicious BBQ in the Coastal Bend for years.
"My grandfather opened his place in 1947 in downtown Robstown," Mike Cotten said.
That restaurant was there until 2011 until it burned down. Mike Cotten has taken the opportunity to carry on the family's legacy when he opened Mike Cotten's BBQ in 2012.
Located in the Calallen area, the restaurant first started as a takeout and drive-thru only restaurant until opening the dining room next door. With dining rooms closed throughout Texas, Cotten has reverted back to the old days, but it has hurt business just a little.
"It has been tough, I'm not going to lie," he said. "It's not like it used to be."
The stay at home orders have not stopped its loyal customers from stopping by and showing support.
"We frequent Mike Cotten's all the time," Joe Newcomb said. "Great lunch and great dinner."
Cotten is serving up all the classics including brisket, ribs and sausage, but during this time he has gone off menu and come up with some creative entrees.
"We have brisket cheese fries and we have some brisket nachos," he said. "You can only get those here."
The restaurant has a full staff in place right now running the take out and drive thru service. During times like this, it might be tough to pay a full crew, but the community is helping in a big way.
"They are leaving big tips for my guys," Cotten said. "We can't express our gratitude."
With the community giving back to Cotten, he has decided to return the favor. He has started a canned food drive outside the restaurant that will be donated to the Coastal Bend Food Bank and that is just the start of it.
"We are donating 10 percent of our sales from today and tomorrow and we are going to write a check to the food bank," Cotten said.
The drive-thru remains busy as hungry customers come and get their BBQ fix, and they always leave satisfied.
"Oh it's the best," Jose Garza said. "The stringy beef sandwich is the best."
Cotten and his staff are working hard to feed the community, and hopes that his dining room eventually will be full once again.