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How We Began
Jimmy Theros founded Rudolphs in 1975. Mr. Theros – already a 25-year veteran of the restaurant business – discovered a marketing niche waiting to be filled. People in the Twin Cities loved barbecue. What he also saw was that most barbecue “joints” were called “joints” for a reason. Why not open up a real barbecue restaurant with a touch of class? The kind of place where everybody could come and enjoy the great tastes of barbecue chicken and ribs. So, Mr. Theros drove across country and went to over 100 barbecue restaurants with his family in tow to sample and learn how to make great barbecue. When he returned to Minneapolis he started concocting his formulas and recipes and found a location for his upscale barbecue restaurant. On June 20th, 1975 on the corner of Lyndale and Franklin, Rudolphs Bar-B-Que opened to the public and from that point Mr. Theros has been serving the finest spare ribs and chicken in the Twin Cities.
Before Mr. Theros could open his restaurant he needed a name for it. While talking to all of his friends and family he hit upon the idea of naming it after legendary silent screen movie idol Rudolph Valentino. Rudolph Valentino was the original movie heartthrob; before Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and even Brad Pitt. When Valentino was on the screen his fans couldn’t stay away from the theater. Rudolph Valentino never won an Academy award – he passed away before the first award ceremony in 1929 – but Rudolphs has consistently been a winner twice-named “Best Ribs in America” and voted the hometown favorite 17 times.
The scene at Rudolphs has always focused on flavor. The ribs are hand-rubbed with spices, aged for at least 48 hours and then cooked in a custom pit. The pit design was brought back from Mr. Theros’ research trip and is still used to this day. The other aspect of the food at Rudolphs is the fact that it is made in house, the “old school” way with love, attention to detail and uncompromising standards. The cole slaw has been a family recipe since the 1960’s and was only “tweaked” a bit before Rudolphs opened in 1975 and has not been changed since. Rudolphs is all about the barbecue, but the other items on the menu are stunning in their own right. New York Steak, Prime Rib on the weekends, a one pound pork chop, hamburgers and sandwiches round out the menu for those times that you may not be in the mood for great barbecue. It is those other menu items that keep the folks in the neighborhood coming back time and time again and they all agree on one thing; Rudolphs is no “Joint”!