Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
What in the world is going on with Mamma Pigs? Since the Windsor barbecue restaurant’s July opening there’s been some serious Mamma drama. Over the weekend, however, a “New Ownership” sign went up on the smokehouse we may have a few more answers. Just leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way around this explanation…
The short version is that Creative Consultant Gary Finnan, who helped to open the restaurant with the Bousquets, is now the sole proprietor. The Bousquets have left the smokehouse and aren’t part of the business any longer.
The longer version takes a bit more explanation...
Last spring restaurateurs Matthew and Bryan Bousquet quietly closed their Michelin-starred Windsor restaurant, Mirepoix, with plans to transform the critically-acclaimed but money-losing French restaurant into a barbecue, burgers and beer joint. In July, Mamma Pigs opened with plenty of fanfare, and seemingly solid ‘que with the help of Finnan and Matthew Riveras of Sonoma Essence LLC aka “The Piggy Pack”.
On the surface, things seemed to be going well until the Bousquets suddenly closed their second Windsor restaurant, Bistro M, just weeks after the Mamma Pigs opening. Citing refrigeration issues, there was no official word of the closing until a week or so after when several staffers leaked that they’d been unceremoniously axed and the mysterious refrigeration issues never got resolved.
Adding to the confusion, the couple went missing from the barbecue restaurant without explanation and a handful of cryptic Facebook posts citing family issues. Phone calls weren’t returned and the two had seemingly vanished without any forwarding address. Employees refused to say what was happening, and patrons were left scratching our heads.
In early September, word made it through the restaurant scene that Matthew had resurfaced in Napa (at Bistro Jeanty, which had been looking for a new exec chef since May) and Bryan was devoting more time to motherhood. Speculation about the couple’s departure was confirmed, while complaints about Mamma Pigs were stacking up as consistency and quality seemed to take a nosedive without the couple at the helm.
What only recently came to light, however, was that the Bousquets were merely tenants in the new barbecue spot hired as “hospitality consultants” with the possibility of becoming franchisees if the restaurant was successful.
The most recent twist in the saga is a “New Ownership” sign that went up in the last days of September. Finnan issued a press release explaining that he is now sole proprietor with the consulting support of Riveras. The two aim to get the restaurant back on track and continue to operate a spot for burgers, bacon, barbecue and beer in line with the original vision.
“We look forward to serving our community and building a brand that shares the bounty of Sonoma County,” said Finnan.
Whether the restaurant can hold onto the affection of locals is yet to be seen, but with the explosion of barbecue spots around Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, it’s clear that there’s a hunger for ‘que around these parts. Minus the mamma drama.