It doesn’t sound like much a of a compliment to say the newest restaurant on Broadway looks like it could be part of a well thought out, all demographic-friendly chain. But, slickly produced commercial spots aside, what is going on in the kitchen and behind the scenes at Rooster’s Bar and Grill is probably what matters most.
“There’s no polished metal. We wanted something warm and comfortable for everybody,” restaurateur Stan Moshier told CHS as we sat down in the midst of Sunday night’s pre-opening “friends and family” serving as the new Broadway restaurant worked out last minute kinks before Monday night’s planned opening.
Moshier and Lori Campbell created the Tex-Mex themed Rooster’s from the literal ashes of the space left behind after a never-solved arson destroyed the Galerias Mexican restaurant in 2011. Moshier tells CHS he won the bid to work as a contractor on rehabbing the restaurant in preparation for finding a new project to lease the space — it was a real mess by the time work began three years after the fire, Moshier said, with copper pipes and wires stripped by thieves and people using the burned out building as a place to hang out and shoot up — and has he built it back up, the longtime owner of Madison Park’s Bing’s decided it might be time to saddle back up in the restaurant biz.
After a successful sale of their Madison Park restaurant in 2011, Moshier and Campbell decided to turn the new project over to some of the key people they had worked with in the kitchen for so many years at Bing’s. Oscar Arevalo and Jose Luis Ceja not only head the new kitchen at Rooster’s, Moshier said he was able to offer his longtime employees the opportunity to become partners this time around. Moshier said he fused his concept for a BBQ-driven restaurant with Arevalo and Ceja’s Michoacan backgrounds to create the Rooster’s menus. The big “Southern Pride” smoker in the kitchen will get a lot of work.
Dishes include “the Tostada De Ceviche, featuring fresh cod in a lime juice marinade served with pico de gallo and avocado on a crispy tostada,” pozole with “hominy, tender pork, cabbage with avocado topping,” carne asada, fajitas, tacos, or “a Pork Chop Adovo accented with a chipotle pepper sauce.” “The Rooster’s menu embraces it’s Tex-Mex culinary style by highlighting the meats, fish, herbs and spices characteristic of the region,” the press release reads. Weekend breakfast and brunch will be added to the roster in a few weeks. Prices range from $8 to $10 appetizers including nachos and queso fundido to three-taco plates around $10 to $12 to Tex Mex entrees in the teens. There’s a full bar with house margaritas and Mexican beer by the can.
There’s no denying it. Rooster’s looks and feels like somebody — Moshier — created a Chilli’s by hand in the middle of Broadway. But who’s to say it won’t age into the fabric of the indie-leaning neighborhood? Even Charlie’s must have looked new for at least one day.
Moshier’s new restaurant joins a north Broadway dining scene that recently had taken an upswing toward the $$$$$ end of the spectrum. Still, simpler options survive — and thrive. And more choices including Poppy sibling Lionhead, “three ingredient” cocktail joint Herb and Bitter Public House and the overhauled Harvard Exit restaurant and office development are coming soon.
Rooster’s Bar and Grill is located at 611 Broadway E and open Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM to midnight, and will be open 9:00 AM to midnight Saturdays and 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Sundays once the breakfast service starts. In the meantime, check out roosterstexmex.com for more information.