Restaurant Revisited: Bronk’s Bar and Grill

by in Shows, December 5th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleFacing the imminent closure of their 11-year-old restaurant, Bronk’s Bar and Grill, husband and wife owners, Erik and Tracy Brunkow, turned to Robert Irvine for help in saving their business. This Lake City, Minn., eatery had been serving dishes made mostly from frozen food in an out-of-date, unadorned space, but thanks to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team, it reopened with a fresh menu and vibrant decor to match. We checked in with Erik a few months after the transformation to see how Bronk’s is doing now.

Immediately after the renovation, sales at Bronk’s grew significantly, doubling during weekdays and tripling on weekends. Erik says that customers have come from near and far to see and taste the changes, and everyone is wowed by the updated decor. “They say it’s brighter, fresher and more open,” he explains. “People are noticing our tin ceiling all of a sudden, which was there originally.”

Bronk’s is still serving the updated menu exclusively, and Erik notes that they’re using only fresh, never-frozen ingredients. He adds that the specialty sauces that Robert created have been extremely well-received by diners. “People want us to bottle them and sell them at the store.”

Since Erik has taken on full responsibility of Bronk’s, he says that he’s able to make decisions more quickly and easily. “I feel I have a better grasp of the whole running of the restaurant. Issues get taken care of a lot faster because I’m there all the time and I don’t have to ask Tracy for her opinion.” He admits that his and Tracy’s relationship is still a “work in progress,” but explains that he and his family have been sure to spend quality time together on Sundays. Tracy is still working at Bronk’s but only one day a week.

Reflecting on his Restaurant: Impossible experience, Erik tells us that he’s especially impressed with the impact the renovation has had on the community. “Many businesses in town say that we have inspired them to take a look at their own businesses and take time out to make new changes.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Rohrer’s Tavern (November 28)
Poco’s on the Boulevard (November 21)
Oleander Bar and Grill (October 17)
Valley Inn (October 10)
Whistle Stop (October 3)
The Maple Tree Cafe (September 26)
Michele’s (September 19)
Paliani’s Restaurant (September 12)
Frankie’s (September 5)
Gusanoz (August 29)
Stella’s (August 8)
Italian Village (August 1)
Zandi’s (July 25)
The Main Dish (July 18)
Longbranch Steak and Seafood (July 11)
Horton’s Kids (June 13)
Pollard’s (May 30)
University Grill (May 23)
Ristorante Barolo (May 16)
Pappas (May 9)
Mama Lee’s (May 2)
Pelican Grill (April 25)
Valley View (March 14)

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Comments (144)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Click on my name for more reviews and updates. Hopefully they can keep the customers coming back. Nice to see Taniya back too.

    • Jumping Bean says:

      These restaurants always bring back old "favorites," but usually such items are frozen. That cracks me up. Those customers can make their own frozen favorites at home and save money. I never realized how many restaurants rely on frozen items until I started watching this show. I would think #1 for a restaurant owner would be to understand that people are going out to eat to get fresh, originally prepared meals. Also, service in these places is usually a problem and remains one despite any intervention done by Robert or the owners during the show. I say clean house of those with attitudes during the renovation period and start fresh with people who will take direction and respect the bosses going forward.

  2. mike in mn says:

    nice 2 see a place thats not dirty ! its amazing how rob went right 2 the problem the couples relationship .i felt so sorry 4 them.very nice people they deserve 2 b happy robs probly the only one that could help them in a tender way and still get the job done

  3. JoAnn says:

    I live in Rochester so I've been to Bronk's only once but will definitely go back again and again. I agree that they should bottle and sell their special sauces. I was disappointed they didn't feature their Mac and Cheese – it was FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh!!!!!! Can't wait to get back to Lake City for more of the good food at Bronk's. Glad to hear they're doing great.

  4. Taylor says:

    i went to bronks bar and grill before and after it looked very nice inside and more clean but, the food and service was horibble it took our waitress 1 hour to get our meal never came back to the table or got us what we wanted and the food was so plain and flavorless it didnt taste good i would not recomend it!

  5. KelsiAnderson says:

    i dont get why everyone is ranting and raving about it i did not get a good vibe the service and bad and the food wasent that great i will not go back.

  6. Rick Williams says:

    I was visting the area and i heard good things about the restaurant so my family went and eneded up waiting for about 50 min for our food, they also got our order wrong and when we asked them for the right food she was very rude i would not recomend this to anyone if you want a nice family oriented place to go.

  7. Paula Curkwood says:

    Bad service.Bad food.

  8. Nancy Collins says:

    Went to bronks bar and grill the place looked AMAZING! Was very excited, the food was only okay and the servers had a poor attitude. I was dissapointed.

  9. Annie says:

    I used to work there. Erik and Tracy are awesome people just really bad employers. I hope they do well.

  10. Mary says:

    Awesome place! Awesome people! I wish them continued success.

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