Diners gather to say goodbye to Bob’s counter

By Rosemary McCoy

Customers are crowding into Bob’s Carryout & Delivery to eat one last meal at the counter that has served diners for decades.

The restaurant will serve its last meals Sunday at the diner at 1312 W. 12th St. before reopening next month on the east side of Sioux Falls with a new name, Cluckin’ Good Chicken & BBQ.

Wednesday morning, nine of the 11 seats at Bob’s were filled by regulars who meet daily for breakfast.

“They come every day as long as I get the door open,” manager Tony Weber said.

The group of mostly retired men joked with each other and with Weber as he fried their eggs and bacon and made pancakes on the grill.

Jerry and Frances Potter have been eating at Bob’s for 50 years.

“I come for the company and to watch Larry eat,” Jerry joked about one of his breakfast companions.

The group won’t be regulars when the restaurant moves because it won’t be serving breakfast anymore. Ben Weiland, who owns the business with his son, Jona, is streamlining the operation.

Weiland said that when he bought Bob’s Cafe 17 years ago, he intended to take out the counter and focus on takeout and delivery of broasted chicken and barbecued ribs, pulled pork and brisket. Former owner Bob Lyons talked him into keeping the limited seating because of the regular customers.

While giving up the landmark location is bittersweet, Weiland is looking forward to a fresh start in the former Topper’s location at 3607 E. 10th St.

“Now that we’re moving, we’re going back to the original process of making the best chicken and barbecue,” he said. “We’ll do carryout, delivery and catering, and there will be a few seats for customers.”

Diners will order and pick up their food at the counter. Weiland is taking most of the equipment for food preparation with him, and he’s putting it behind the counter so customers can see their chicken being broasted. The grill will be gone, though, so hamburgers also won’t be on the menu anymore. The hash browns are another loss, but Weiland is adding mashed potatoes and gravy as a regular side dish. He expects that to make a lot of customers happy.

“If you didn’t get to Bob’s (in the final days), you’ll find the same great food at the new location,” he said. “We aren’t doing something new. We’re doing the same thing we have for years.”

Hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily with catering work also happening before and after that time. He plans to have the catering operation going by Aug. 1 and open the doors for other business by mid-August.

He’s adding delivery and counter staff, and plans to reduce the wait times for orders.

On Wednesday morning, the regulars joked that if Weiland would put in a grill at the east-side restaurant, they would cook their own breakfast. They’re still trying to figure out which restaurant will be their new gathering place.

Weiland said many customers have asked why he’s changing the restaurant’s name. Lyons still owns the rights to the Bob’s name, along with the building, which is for sale, and the iconic neon sign.

So there’s still a chance that the breakfast regulars will someday get to gather around the counter, drink their coffee and joke with their friends.

No more Bob’s: Famed chicken restaurant moving, rebranding

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Diners gather to say goodbye to Bob’s counter

Customers are crowding into Bob’s Carryout & Delivery to eat one last meal at the counter that has served diners for decades.

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