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June 05, 2012

Bob's Smokestack is hitting the road and Rooster's moving in

When a local barbecue joint goes mobile at the end of this month, it will open the door for some Rochester restaurateurs to cook up a new place for breakfast.

Bob's Smoke Stack Ribs will end its one year run at 2280 Superior Drive N.W. at the end of the month. However, local Bob fans don't need to worry about missing Bob Lewis' acclaimed barbecue ribs. 

"I'll still be around. I'm still catering from my trucks," Lewis says, as he's looking at a very full schedule of private events, festivals and fairs this summer.

He is closing06042012bob'ssmokestake1jk with "a heavy heart" but is upbeat about the future. He says the past year taught him a few lessons that should help with his next place. 

"I'm looking for a smaller place, small enough that I can keep my hands on all of the food coming out of the kitchen," says Lewis, whose barbecue was once called the best in the state by Minnesota Monthly magazine. While he looks for the new home for Bob's Smokestack Ribs, Lewis is returning to his roots — on wheels.

"The trucks are where I started from and I'm OK with going back to them for now," he says of the rolling kitchens that introduced the Rochester area to his barbecue.

His move out of the restaurant overlooking Superior Drive clears the way for Rooster's Bar-n & Grill, a new country-style that its local owners say will focus on "The six Bs - breakfast, burgers, broasted chicken, billiards, bullseyes and a full bar."

Ross Manahan and 10192010topshotsoutsideKrisse Zabel, co-owners of Top Shots! billiards bar in downtown Rochester, are joining forces with local veteran restaurant manager and bartender Mike Brakke to launch Rooster's.

"We're hoping to be open in August," says Manahan. "Like you see in small towns, we want it to be a bar and grill where people also go to eat breakfast. We'll start at 6 a.m. and we'll serve breakfast all day."

There will also be pool tables, dart boards, food with a country flair and possible car cruise-ins in the parking lot.

Why open a new place when the downtown bar is already hopping?

"Krisse and I have been talking about doing something else with food for a while," he says.

And the pool and dart leagues have been so popular at Top Shots! that they've turned away a lot of teams. The building previously housed Leo's Pizza Palace and Catch-22 Bar & Grill, which both closed after relatively short runs.

"That location has a lot of opportunity. It will be awesome with Costco opening across the road," says Manahan. "The location doesn't scare us."


He should have stayed in Elgin...That was a smaller-sized restaurant that the locals enjoyed. It seemed to be very successful. Now there is no Bob's in Elgin or Rochester.

I think he bit off more than he could chew with that big restaurant. It's too bad because I think his food is normally very good...I think as he said he couldn't assure quality of every order going out

The food was either great or reheated in our experience. He said he wasn't allowed to smoke fresh each day so he reheated ribs from days he could smoke.

No one seems to make it in that building-I hope roosters does well, it's not a Huge place either-good size but not huge.

My experience matches what others said, either awesome or leftovers. Dunno why he "wasn't allowed" to smoke every day, or who could have stopped him? The city? Neighbors? Whatever it was, it sucks.

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