Restraunteur swings for the bleachers with change

A Rochester restaurateur is switching up his game plan to make a play for fans of the flavors from the bleachers.

Bob Plengehopes to field his new Stadium Club Cards and Concessionsin August.

Reflecting his obsession with all things sports-related, expect "upscale" hot dogs and brats on the menu as well as warm pretzels and gourmet subs. It will also serve beer and wine.

"Think of a concession stand at a sports stadium," he says.

Besides the food, fans will also find displays of collector cards and sports memorabilia for sale.


"That's the other piece of the business," says Plenge, a long-time sports card collector. "Right now it is hard to find a place in the area to buy 'hobby packs' of cards for the serious collectors. So we're going to do that."

Stadium Club will replace his Nick-N-Willy's World Famous Take-N-Bake Pizzaeatery in the TJ Maxx & More Plaza. Plenge also plans to shut the doors of his other Nick-N-Willy's location in the Century Hills Business Plaza near Century High School. When it does close later this summer, he plans to transfer the staff over to help open the Stadium Club.

He has 18 employees at the two Rochester locations and he hopes to keep them all on through the transition.

His sports fan menu will also include pizza, both cooked and take-and-bake. While the pizzas will not be Nick-N-Willy's, they will have some Plenge's own personal touches.

The Salem Road location has seating for about 35 and will focus heavily on takeout orders.

Plenge helped created the Nick-N-Willy's concept here in 2003 with two local partners, Mayo Clinicophthalmologist Dr. Jay Erieand Ed Pompeianof Realty Growth Inc.

Biz buzz

Sales of two Med City buildings slated to be revamped as new restaurants — the northwest incarnation of Newt'sand Fresh Grill Buffet— have officially been posted on Olmsted County Property Records website.


The Wallin's Westbuilding at 5231 E. Frontage Road N.W. was purchased for the new Newt's project for $1.35 million on April 5.

This is Creative Cuisine Corp.'s project to create another Newt's as a sibling to the downtown icon. Dave and Mark Curryalong with their sister, Denise Villeneuveare spearheading this plan.

It is estimated that the new place could open around mid-May.

• Rochester's Home Federal Savings Banksold the former Gorilla's Sports Bar building at 2775 43rd St. N.W. on April 7 for a sale price of $1.06 million that was adjusted to $770,000, according to county documents.

The new owners plan to transform the building into a new American family-style buffet restaurant to be called The Fresh Grill Buffet.

Rochester business developers Jerry and Dean Nelsonfirst opened that building as a Golden Corralbuffet in 2001 and later changed into different styles of restaurants under the Gorilla's name until it closed in early 2010.

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