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Ross Manahan didn’t know what to expect. When the owner of the new Rooster’s Barn & Grill arrived on a recent Thursday afternoon to unlock the doors of his new restaurant, his first 18 customers were standing in line, waiting to walk inside.  

“I have no idea how they knew we were opening,” said Manahan, who opened his first of two Rooster’s locations in Rochester, Minnesota, 10 years ago.  

Manahan, 62, plans to someday retire in Fort Myers Beach and has some transplanted Minnesota friends in the area. In recent years, they have begged him to bring his concept with him.  

Manahan finally obliged. In December, he bought the building at 8500 Gladiolus Drive in south Fort Myers, at the northwest corner of Winkler Road, for $1.8 million. It had been a Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.  

Stevens Construction managed the project of converting the Fuzzy’s into Rooster’s.  

Rooster’s has eight pages of menus and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hours eventually will expand but, for now, breakfast is served from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon on Sundays. 

“Breakfast is kind of a tough nut to crack,” said Manahan, who wants to expand the hours after the cooks get more accustomed to the routine. “I want to make sure the cooks are ready to do high-volume breakfasts. Typically, we serve 400 breakfasts in Rochester on Saturday and Sunday mornings.”  

The lunch and dinner menu is available 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  

It’s sports bar fare such as burgers, chicken, pork, wings, loaded French fries and tater tots and salads. Rooster’s also has a specialty of broasted chicken where the unique style of cooking requires about a 25-minute wait for that menu item, Manahan said. Patrons can enjoy a 34-ounce domestic draft beer for $6 while waiting.  

“The Rooster Barn & Grill started literally out of an idea from a group that I camped with,” said Manahan, who was a development manager for IBM for 29 years before getting into the restaurant business. “And they said, we’re going to open up a restaurant, and we’re going to do breakfast. And the exact words that came out were, ‘Well, it’s going to be Rooster’s Barn & Grill.’ I said, Absolutely. That’s what it is.’ That’s how Rooster’s Barn & Grill started.” 

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