Well, after around five years of the site being two other restaurants, part of the “BBQ” restaurant is coming back as “Mr. BBQ” and will open hopefully next week.
“The planned opening is by the 20th of this month,” said Gregg Bender, who with his wife, operated Mr. and Mrs. BBQ for several years.
Now that he is back, he is working with his brother, Matthew Bender.
“I’m bringing back all the old recipes that everyone liked so much and it’s great to hear good comments that we are about ready to open,” he said.
If you drive by the restaurant at 1171 Homestead Rd., you’ll see the big “Mr. BBQ” sign out front. But the windows have been lined with paper for the past few weeks while workers are refurbishing the inside. Matthew is no stranger to the business because he worked with his brother a few years back when it was Mr. and Mrs. BBQ.
The restaurant had earned a great reputation for good food and great service in both its sit-ins and take-out orders. Now Matthew owns the business but Gregg is the face of the place and it will be under his management that the good food returns.
“When we open, you’ll see some shakers (people who carry signs) out on the sidewalk at the strip center. We’re two doors from the Ace Hardware Store and there is plenty of parking, never a problem there,” he said.
“It’s the same place as it was before, but we are doing a lot of work inside,” Bender said. “It is all new inside.”
Today Bender uses a wheelchair to get around and is looking forward to being fitted to prosthetics.
Matthew says a long nightmare of unrelenting horror would best describe the past few years for his brother, Gregg.
“This year, 2011, brought new hope, new challenges, but hopefully an end to the countless surgeries, setbacks disappointments and the indescribable suffering both physically and emotionally that he has endured and overcome.
“It’s an incredible ‘comeback story’ that hopefully will have a very happy ending,” Matthew said.
The story started several years ago with a plan for retirement and a much needed vacation road trip. The first step was for Gregg and his wife to sell their very lucrative business, buy a new car and set their sights on traveling after working night and day seven days a week.
“So far, so good, but things soon went awry, his vacation road trip never happened.
He faced medical problems that left both of his legs amputated which led to a roller coast journey that kept him hanging on by his eyelashes at times,” Matthew said.
“But he’s back and from what I hear, everyone is looking forward to the good food he served before,” he said.
Bender will hire four to five people and some may be those who had worked for him before.
There will be new tables and the counters will be lowered in size so Gregg can use his wheel chair to check people out at the cash register.
“I won’t be doing the cooking,” he laughed,” but it will be my original recipe for barbecue,” he said.
“My real job here is being the director of operations and run the restaurant and produce the same top quality food as I did before,” Gregg said.
In addition, he will also be offering his catering business for all types of parties and celebrations.
Coming back to reopen his business is a real dream after all he has gone through with medical problems, but he says he is up to the task and is spreading the word that he’s back in town, only this time, it’s Mr. BBQ.
He should know the food business. After all, he has spent 30 years in that type of work.
Hours for Mr. BBQ will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, Mr. BBQ will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Gregg even has his own website. It’s at: Mrbbqreturns.com.
“That is where I will have my menus and the specials we plan,” he said.
Gregg said he is planning weekly specials and ‘all you can eat’ sit-down meals.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into what I loved and to see many of my previous customers and friends and all the new ones who were not here when we were Mr. and Mrs. BBW. Tell them to come on in; they won’t be disappointed,” Gregg said.