Baldy’s BBQ moves to West Bank

The restaurant will be the closest barbecue joint to campus.

Jennifer Bissell

After 500 man-hours of cleaning and repainting, Baldy’s BBQ has opened on the West Bank in place of the K-Wok Asian restaurant.
Baldy’s BBQ, specializing in pulled pork, brisket and ribs, will be the closest barbecue restaurant to campus besides Famous Dave’s in downtown Minneapolis.
“I think we’ll do real well,” Brian “Baldy” Wheeler, said. “With delivering and having traditional American food, I don’t see how we could go wrong.”
Currently the restaurant is serving 75 to 125 people a day, but Wheeler said he’d like to see 200 people a day by the spring. The restaurant opened Sept. 3.
Although the restaurant hasn’t done much advertising, waitress Rikki Herber said they make $300 to $500 a day during lunch and will often see customers again once they try the food.
 “We know people like our food,” Wheeler said. “As soon as the kids know what we have, I think they’ll really appreciate our food.”
Herber agreed. “It’d be good to have the younger crowd in here and take advantage of [our] Thursday through Saturday [hours] open until 1 a.m.,” Herber said.
 “Lunches are really busy, but dinners are slow,” Herber said. “I would like to see it get super busy and have it be packed during sport events.”
With one other location in Lakeville, Wheeler said he chose the West Bank because it was the cheapest area for rent around campus.
“It’s not as visible [and] there’s not enough traffic in this area,” Wheeler said.
“[But] rent was half the price than it was on the East Bank. So we decided because we deliver, we could still hit that area well enough to make it.”
To appeal to students more, the store offers a $6 meal deal for students and will be applying for a liquor license soon.
University of Minnesota senior Micah Fitch said he had been looking at the menus outside the restaurant’s windows when a waitress came out to greet him.
“She said the food would taste better inside than it would out there, so I came in and gave it a shot,” Fitch said. “It was good. It was really good.”
Fitch ordered one of the daily specials — sloppy chicken and baked beans.
“I think it was better than the restaurant that was here before,” Fitch said. “That one was so-so. There are Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants all over the place here, and there are not a whole lot of barbecue [restaurants].”