Meet the Team

Roadie Spotlight

Meet the smiles that light up the Roadhouse!

Our Roadhouse crew is known for their above-and-beyond commitment to service. They’re so focused on making sure you have an excellent Zingerman’s experience that they’ve earned prestigious James Beard award nominations for Outstanding Hospitality two years in a row. If you’ve dined at the Roadhouse, you’ve met some of these sparkling folks. We’d like to give you the pleasure of getting to know the people that make our all-American spot so special.

Bob Brunelli

What do you do at the Roadhouse?

I am the day bartender, I wait on the guests during lunch. I prepare all of the items needed behind the bar for the night crew for their shift. I have worked at the Roadhouse for 16 ½ years, after starting at Zingerman’s Mail Order as a holiday employee.

I have been in the hospitality industry a long time! I worked as a manager for a number of chain restaurants, and I ran a private dining club and a golf resort. Bartending skills are just built in to the restaurant business.

What is your favorite thing on the Roadhouse menu?

I have two! The New Mexico Grilled Chicken Sandwich is one, (it is now a secret special!) We used to get anything off the menu for free, and I would get it at the end of my shift. I also love the Chicken Fried Steak.

What is your favorite Bar beverage?

For a non-alcoholic option, I enjoy the Sprecher’s Orange Dream soda. For a cocktail, I am currently a big fan of the Tres Piñas on our summer cocktail list!

What is your favorite food from another Zingerman’s business?

The #2, the Zingerman’s Reuben.

If you had to choose, fried chicken or BBQ?

Fried chicken! I grew up on fried chicken.

Do you have any nicknames?

My youngest son and his friends still call me Big B.

What is your Favorite music?

Classic Rock. The more it rocks, the more I like it. In concert, I have seen ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, The Who, Van Halen with David lee Roth, and Grand Funk Railroad.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Virginia Beach in southern Virginia. That’s where I enjoyed all the fried chicken. All our BBQ came with a vinegar (ENC) sauce. My Dad was a Flag officer in the Marine Corps, so we moved from coast to coast a lot when I was younger, but I always loved my teenage years in Virginia Beach the best. I lived there in the early ’60s, when it was still just a sleepy beach town where we could go surfing all day and no one bothered us.

After elementary school and my first 2 years of high school in Virginia Beach, I was awarded an athletic scholarship to attend Fork Union Military Academy in the mountains of Virginia. It was there that I received the honor of being selected to the 1965 All American swim team and graduated in 1966. I was then offered and accepted a Presidential appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. In the fall of 1967 I transferred to The College of William and Mary in Virginia finishing in 1970. I then began my hospitality career working in restaurants. Moving often, I worked in Atlanta, Washington DC (twice), Toledo, Chicago, Evansville, IN just to mention just a few and eventually wound up in Ann Arbor in 1991.

I met my wife, Kimberley, in Chicago. Note the “E” in her name; she was named after the diamond mine in South Africa. I was working as a manager at the Magic Pan, and she was the manager at a different location. We married in 1983, and later moved here. She grew up in the area, and graduated from Milan High School.

What are some of your favorite things?

I love playing golf and shooting my pistols at my gun club here in Ann Arbor.

What do you like best about working at the Roadhouse?

I love the staff here, and I really like the guests. I can relate to them really well. There’s a few who come in just to see me, and they like the way I make their drinks.They always ask where I am when I am on vacation. I get to know the families who come in here and watch the kids grow up. I like to see everyone growing up.

Who are your dream dinner guests?

Jesus Christ, Leonardo da Vinci (a genius and the true Renaissance man), Julius Caesar (perhaps the greatest military leader of all time), and Plato.

HMMM? I think my table probably needs to be a 10 top. My 4 guests and I are 5, but I forgot that we will need 5 translators. One each for Greek, Aramaic, Latin, Italian and English.