Bronk's Bar and Grill in Lake City Gets Boost of a Lifetime

Posted at: 12/10/2012 7:00 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Bronk’s Bar and Grill in Lake City got the boost of a lifetime last week. It was featured on the Food Network’s, “Restaurant: Impossible,” last Wednesday.


"My Grandpa's nickname was Bronk's. Dad Was Bronk. I was Bronk. Okay so Bronk's it is,” said Erik Brunkow, the owner of Bronk’s Bar and Grill.
Brunkow and his wife Tracy have owned the bar and grill in Lake City for more than eleven years.

"Sales have been going up, up, up, ever year,” he said.

Until the last few.

“The last couple years with the economy and more businesses in town sales plummeted,” he added.

Their finances depleted, they made a last resort decision to contact the show, “Restaurant: Impossible.” The show is best known for turning restaurants around in two days and with just $10,000.

"This is a one in a million shot,” said Brunkow.

But, against the odds, they were chosen. The show spent two days in September revamping the restaurant.

"We're looking for someone to come in and kick our butt,” added Brunkow.

That someone was the show’s host, Robert Irvine. Irvine is known for his no-nonsense, straight to the point approach. He quickly pointed out what needed to change.

"Basically we had an 89 item menu before and roughly I think as we counted on the show, 60 of them were frozen items,” said Brunkow.
"We had primarily frozen food. It was kind of a joke,” said Ryan Nardinger, Head Chef of Bronk’s Bar and Grill. "Now everything is fresh,” he said.

A new menu along with a new look.

"New colors, new carpets, new chairs, new bar stools,” said Brunkow.

Has lifted employee morale.

"I have a sense of pride in what I was doing again. Kind of made me hold my head up higher and take charge of what was going on back here,” said Nardinger.

And brought in new customers.

"Even yesterday with 11 inches of snowstorm. We had people coming from the cities,” he added.

Satisfaction is evident.

"They love the fresh food. Ya know the quality. It's a lot better,” said Allyson Nibbe. She has been serving at Bronk’s since day one.

It’s a fresh start for a once struggling bar, grill and owners alike.

"There's a very high percentage that yes, we probably would not have made it through this winter if not for the show coming in.”

The show aired last Wednesday and has brought in lots of new customers. In addition to the new menu changes, they brought back some of the more popular items from the old one to keep the regular customers happy.