Bobby Z’s shuts down

Amy Danielson

The ever-changing landscape of Dinkytown shifted again last week when the owners of Burrito Loco bought local bar Bobby Z’s.

Bobby Z’s closed on July 12, and the owners have no current plans of re-opening at a different location, manager Mike Reindl said.

Reindl said Burrito Loco owners have been looking to expand and offered Bobby Z’s owners a “lucrative deal.”

Managers at Bobby Z’s told staff that the owners sold the business because the bar was not making enough money selling food. They were not planning to sell the business, but Burrito Loco offered them a good deal, former Bobby Z’s staff members said.

Reindl notified the staff on July 12 after the deal was finalized, and the business closed almost immediately.

Bobby Z’s owners, Tony and Linda Patterson, who also own Sally’s Saloon & Eatery, Maxwell’s American Pub, Harvey’s Bar and Grill and Legends Bar and Grill, declined to comment. They offered all their employees jobs at their other bars, former Bobby Z’s employees said.

Bobby Z’s waitress Lindsey Carter said she was impressed by how professionally the owners were handling things.

“It’s upsetting to everyone that it is closing because it is such a great place to go and have fun,” said Carter, who accepted a job at Sally’s.

However, the change has been difficult for some former Bobby Z’s employees.

“It is hard because it has taken so long for me to get to work at Sally’s because they have so many people and have already made out the schedule,” said Lisa Kaczmarek, who also worked at Bobby Z’s and will now work at Sally’s.

Kaczmarek said she will not work for a couple of weeks and will receive no compensation for the time.

Sue Jeffers, manager of Stub & Herb’s, expressed dismay at the closing.

“I was really surprised that Bobby Z’s closed,” said Sue Jeffers, manager of Stub & Herbs. “I know that they had some issues, though.”

Jeffers blamed some difficulties on restrictions in bars, including liquor licenses and the smoking bans being considered in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“The liquor industry is one of the most regulated industries,” Jeffers said. “With legislation like the smoking ban, bars won’t be able to survive.”

Jeffers said city council members such as Paul Zerby make it difficult for bars to maintain their liquor licenses. But Zerby, 2nd Ward, who represents the area surrounding the Minneapolis campus, said not all types of businesses can survive in the area.

“I do try to be supportive of businesses going into Dinkytown,” Zerby said. “But I have never been asked to recruit businesses to the area.”

Zerby said it can be difficult for smaller business to survive when so many chains are coming in.

“There is very little city help for business,” Zerby said. “There are loans, but they are small in scale.”

Scott Johnson, president of the Dinkytown Business Association and owner of AutoGraphics Inc., said the changing face of Dinkytown allows interested owners to bring their businesses to the area.

Johnson said the Irish bar Dubs Pub and Grill will soon open in Dinkytown, and many people have expressed interest in the old Varsity Theater.

Burrito Loco’s owners are still laying plans for the new location, said employee Luke Collins. Collins said the upstairs of the new location will be a bar and the downstairs area will be a restaurant with beer on tap.

Burrito Loco, which recently opened a new restaurant in Uptown, is planning on hiring several new employees for the new building, Johnson said.

Collins said Burrito Loco owners Greg and John Pillsbury will keep the old location and turn it into a deli.

Burrito Loco will open in its new location in the end of August.