Bobbie Sue’s Roadhouse Restaurant Taking Shape in Lowell

The community will be welcoming a new place to dine sometime in the next few months. A new eatery is developing out of the building that used to be The Golden Dragon restaurant and was La Te Da’s before that.

John and Bobbie Sue Heim are the new owners of 11656 Fulton St., and they are planning to open Bobbie Sue’s Roadhouse once renovations are complete.

Hoping to open in August, the Heims are completely renovating the inside of the building to make it suitable for their new establishment which will have a seating capacity of roughly 88 people. They also plan in the future to overhaul the building’s outside to include a 44-seat patio.

John and Bobbie Sue Heim

Bobbie Sue grew up in Lowell, and John, who is from the “south,” also owns the 300-seat “Gigi’s Southern Table” restaurant in Pennsylvania. John moved to Lowell about seven years ago after the couple married.

“We’ve talked about doing a restaurant together for years. We love cooking together,” Bobbie Sue says.

The Heims purchased the property about three months ago and have been hard at work with demolition and renovation ever since. They admit that the building “needs a lot of work,” but
construction is going well so far. They are doing most of the demolition themselves and are hiring local contractors to do some of the inside work. John has been in the construction business for 30 years and is overseeing the renovation.

Location is very important for a restaurant, and the Heims think they have found a great place.

“This was not on the market. We got our broker to find out who owned this because it had been on the market (and) taken off,” John says. “Then we closed on it. There’s literally no turning back now.”

The Heims are hesitant to label what type of food their restaurant will be serving. They do say that it will be “barbeque-centric, but not only barbeque.”

“There’s been a big debate on how we want to describe the food…It’s kind of Tex-Mexy but not Tex-Mex,” John says. “I’ve been working on brisket recipes and rubs and all that stuff for about 30 years now.”

“Thirty years ago, you didn’t have the internet teaching you how to make brisket, so I learned how to make brisket the hard way,” he explains. “When you don’t sell out the brisket, you repurpose the meat. So you braise them. You make them into burnt ends.”

John says his repurposed brisket will be made into “upscale” hot pockets, “cowboy croquettes,” and burritos.

“We’re going to take the wet burrito to a new level. There’ll be a lot of local favorites.”

John, who grew up with southern food, loves creating gumbos, stews, and soups, which he also plans to serve. He uses his own “decadent beef broth” from shredded brisket.

The Heims want to make sure that guests feel cared for and welcome as well as being served great meals.

“When you think of a roadhouse, you don’t think of great hospitality and ambiance. We’re going to deliver that so (when) people come in, they’re going to go, ‘holy cow this is really cool. This is really fun. The food is off the charts,’’ John says.

“The menu won’t be huge, but everything that comes out of that kitchen will be flavorful and decadent and will make people go, ‘huh, that was fun, that was yummy, the service was great.’”

Bobbie Sue will serve as the dessert maker, and they have hired a chef and a general manager.

The Heims describe themselves as “restaurant people” who have a desire to feed others. They entertain guests regularly in their home, often spending all day cooking and baking.

“I love nothing more than seeing the smile of the people eating my food,” John says.

Besides the brisket meat, the restaurant will serve a wide range of familiar favorites with the Heims’ own twist on it. They say they seek to make everything that is served in their restaurant be the best of that item that their patrons have ever tasted.

Eventually the restaurant will have live entertainment such as small bands and acoustic artists. They plan to be open seven days a week, starting the day with lunches, including a Sunday brunch and monthly menu features.

For now, the Heims are concentrating on getting their building and menu in order for what they hope will be the realization of their restaurant vision. They don’t want to let their future customers or themselves down.

“The biggest way to fail is when you have something that everyone’s talking about, is to not produce, which is what we want to do… deliver awesome food,” John says.

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