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 This Lake City, Minn., eatery had been serving dishes made mostly from frozen food in an out-of-date, unadorned space, but thanks to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team, it reopened with a fresh menu and vibrant decor to match.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 (142)

  1. mike in mn says:

    i think mn is cleaner 4 a reson

  2. AlistZ says:

    That woman was too weepy.

    • charliesbbq says:

      I beg to differ, You have a lady working another job to pay the household bills while her husband is running a so-called restaurant with a bunch of frozen crap and you want to gripe about why she is crying and at her wits end??? Give her a break she is the ONLY ONE making money to pay the bills JMHO

    • Zyrtez says:

      Maybe it was edited that way, but I can't help but agree. The last thing male viewers want to see is constant water works whether it's right or wrong. Taniya and company did a great job on the make over. Robert was great as usual. Glad they're keeping the recipes and doing well. Although a lot of the comments are still negative about the restaurant.

    • LayOff says:

      Don't judge her when you don't know her life. She hasn't had it easy the past couple of years and you wouldn't know would you? Keep it to yourself please unless you know the real story.

  3. CJ in IGH MN says:

    I went to Bronks after the re-do and was disappointed to see the staff sitting at the bar, taking up all the seats. It was a Friday night and dead. Note to staff: don't take up space intended for customers, it looks really bad.
    We went back again for dinner on Sat., it was busier, the food was good, but the spicy ketchup was TOO spicy. Loved the onion rings. Oh and they need to have kids menu.

  4. John says:

    Erik admits that his and Tracy"s relationship is still "a work in progress." Eeesh, that dont sound good.

  5. Gatekat says:

    It's also a realistic statement. Anything that got as bad as was said in the show is not a fast fix.

  6. Janae in MN says:

    Its interesting to see all of the people complaining about minor issues also have terrible grammar and spelling errors. Its hard to take a review seriously with numbers used as words, no punctuation, and no capitalization.

  7. alphatero says:

    They are really lovely people. They run a clean restaurant and just needed some direction in how to manage their foodstuffs. Unlike some of the other lost causes on this show, I hope and actually think that Bronks will do well in the future.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Actually, Bronks is my favorite design on the show so far. It looks so, so, cool! I would really love to eat there!

  9. strangefires says:

    Thank God they brought Taniya back!!! Finally a decent redecoration. Looks great, I just hope the servers stop treating the customers like crap.

  10. Epic Fail says:

    I should have read before commenting. It looks worth than I thought. The food and the staff have failed too. Wrong time of the year for that to happen. It's a long time to tourist season. Another epic fail.

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