Best of South Florida: Best Sports Bar

Bob Brudzinski did pretty well as a Miami Dolphin football player, so he’s allowed to use a sports analogy.

“You know, business is just like football,” said Brudzinski, who played in the 1983 and 1985 Super Bowls. “The owners hire the coaches and they coach the players — our servers and kitchen staff — and what they do determines whether or not you’re a winner.”

According to an online poll of readers, Brudzinski’s sports bars also belong in the Super Bowl. The Bru’s Room chain of eight South Florida locations was voted No. 1 in the Sun Sentinel’s monthly “Best Of” series.

Brudzinski played linebacker for the Dolphins from 1981 until 1989, when he retired and opened his first sports bar in Margate, partnering with former Buffalo resident Eddie Hauck, who had been running a Wings ‘N’ Things restaurant in Broward County.

“He brought wings, and that’s our signature product,” Brudzinski said.

From there, the chain — and the menu — expanded. Now there are pastas, soups, mini-burger sliders and a variety of salads.

“We try to also cater to the kids and to those who care about their health as well,” Brudzinski said. “Actually, we just try to cater to everybody.”

While some former athletes merely lend their name to their restaurants, Brudzinski said he works seven days a week. By 9 a.m. weekdays he’s in the chain’s home office in Coconut Creek, checking the receipts from the night before.

“We’re very hands-on,” he said. “We look at what happened the day before, the week before and try to improve every day. And we’re always trying to tweak the menu.”

Recent additions include flatbread items, deep-fried pickles and even Gluten-free foods.

“The food is good, the service is good and the games are always on,” said Shana Klump, motioning to the spread of TVs that circle the restaurant. “Why wouldn’t I come here?”

Hockey fan Brandon Macknofsky, 18, of Coral Springs, gulping down “Buffalo chips” (potato-chip cut fries) has a more specific reason for coming.

“Not every sports bar has enough TVs to even include the hockey games,” he said. “If I come in here, I know the game will be on.”

There’s also a certain home team feel to some of the bars. The Coral Springs and Boynton Beach locations draw Ohio State fans. (Brudzinski graduated from there.) Pompano Beach and Royal Palm locations are official home to the University of Florida Gator Clubs, so UF fans congregate there on game days.

Two more stores are coming, one in Pembroke Pines and one in Stuart, Brudzinski said.

His favorite time?

“Football Saturdays and Sundays,” he said. “That’s when you see all the crazy fans having fun.”

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