It will be a sad New Year’s Eve for the owner of one barbeque restaurant in West San Jose. Ben’s BBQ & Brew will be saying its final goodbyes to customers after serving smoked meats for only three years at its location at the Westgate West center at Prospect Road and Lawrence Expressway. The owner says his landlord is more than doubling his rent and he just can’t afford to stay. He believes the owner of Westgate West, Donahue Schriber, wants to add a retailer with a national name. “I don’t see anybody else being pushed out in the same fashion. They don’t do it to the chains. I guess I don’t have the clout or muscle to argue,” Bens BBQ owner Ali Moein told the Mercury News.
Moein says his rent is being raised from $6,000 a month to around $13,000. The BBQ restaurant gained a loyal following of local sports fans and singers who would frequent karaoke nights held at the location. “After a long lockdown, businesses are struggling. We’ve been customers since 2018 when he opened. It’s a shame to see it being pushed out like this. We appreciate the unique small businesses rather than the chains,” local singer and customer Judy Cerda told the Mercury News.
Moein paid $100,000 to buy and transform the location from the previous tenant Dickey’s barbecue restaurant. It was Moein’s first venture into the restaurant business after 30-years in software engineering. “I learned how to barbecue in my backyard. After years of burning and ruining good meats, I was finally able to make the people who had my cooking go wow! After leaving my corporate work I decided to open a restaurant and provide a place with a comfortable atmosphere for the local folks to come to enjoy barbecue and good beer,” Moein told Mercury News.
Property owner Donahue Schriber runs over 50 shopping centers in the west and isn’t commenting on the rental increase at Ben’s BBQ & Brew. The increase is likely related to a Costco warehouse store moving into the same shopping center as Hoodline reported in November. Costco obviously attracts high volumes of customers which often translates directly to higher rents for businesses around it. The last day at Ben’s BBQ & Brew will be Friday. It opens at 11 a.m. and will be serving up its smoked meats until at least midnight to ring in the new year.