WALLINGFORD — While K.C. Baxter’s was successful in its three years on Route 5, it was time for change, said Kyle Cipully, the restaurant’s manager.
Late last month K.C. Baxter’s, at 728 N. Colony Road, closed its doors. It has reopened with a country theme; titled Bobby Spur’s Barbecue and Brews. A grand opening will be held in two weeks, Cipully said.
The property was purchased by Kyle’s father, local restaurateur August Cipully, three years ago. It was formerly the location of J.J.’s Raw Bar and Grill. K.C. Baxter’s also specialized in offering a raw bar, a practice that will continue even with the restaurant’s new theme.
“We needed to keep up with the times,” Kyle Cipully said of the re-branding. “We needed change.”
Country music now plays softly in the background at Bobby Spur’s, with the interior designed with an aged, wooden theme. There is a jukebox, along with televisions above the bar, Cipully said.
While K.C. Baxter’s kept a consistent customer base, it wasn’t growing, he explained.
“It was time to spice it up a little,” Cipully said.
The restaurant looks to attract all ages, he said, but specifically aims for the 25- to 35-year-old crowd. August Cipully also owns the Victorian House and Waverly Inn, popular restaurants in Cheshire. Kyle Cipully manages all three. With plenty of chefs between the three restaurants, it wasn’t hard to put together a new menu with a barbecue emphasis, he said.
While chicken wings, ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches are now offered, among other new items, there was an effort to keep a portion of K.C. Baxter’s menu alive.
“We kept a lot of the favorites,” he said.
Wallingford has blue collar roots, which is why the country theme was chosen, Cipully said.
Cipully said that he has a passion for the country lifestyle as well.
The new restaurant almost didn’t become a reality. An offer was made to buy the restaurant, Cipully said, “but we decided not to sell.”
At that point, Cipully said his father asked his employees, “What could we do?”
A bartender actually suggested the country theme, and it grew from there, Cipully said. While Cipully said there were reservations at first, it’s nice to have a niche.
“It’s really exciting,” Doreen DeSarro, the town’s business recruiter, said of the new restaurant. DeSarro said she was confused at first when she heard the restaurant was changing its theme because she hadn’t heard of anyone else coming in to purchase the property. When she learned that the restaurant would remain under the Cipully name on Monday, DeSarro said she was relieved, because the family’s restaurants are well known.