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CHOW Mixed Grill and BBQ Celebrates One Year in Business
Restaurants are an integral part of our communities. They serve as important community gathering places and they also contribute to the economy. Every dollar spent in restaurants generates $2 in sales for other industries, according to the National Restaurant Association.
In October, Marco Serrano celebrated his Elk River restaurant’s one-year anniversary. Chow Mixed Grill and BBQ is a family-owned restaurant offering an elevated version of comfort food, made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients.
Serrano’s wife is from Elk River. He’s a transplant from the Detroit area with Italian and Polish heritage. He grew up working in his family’s restaurants and developed a love for the business.
In 2011, he opened Serrano Brothers Catering. Initially, he was cooking out of his home. He found great success with the business and was soon catering for crowds of up to 600 people.
Even with large crowds, quality is always a priority, according to Serrano. “The sauces are all made from scratch. We feed you like family,” he says.
The company offers a range of services, including corporate catering as well as catering for weddings, funerals and private occasions large and small. It offers specialty buffets such as Italian, Polish, Mexican and American BBQ.
Serrano Brothers has received the Star News Readers’ Choice award several times. The popularity of the catering business helped Serrano envision a restaurant. “A lot of people asked me to build a restaurant, they wanted a chance to have the food regularly,” he says.
Serrano spoke to an investor and decided to go for it. In 2017, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant was completed. The custom 3,000-square-foot kitchen serves a dual purpose — accommodating both the restaurant service and catering business.
Restaurant veteran Michael DeMarco was brought in to help with Chow Mixed Grill. The eatery offers up a high quality mix of cuisine, according to Serrano, from Italian classics like Tagliatelle Bolognese (his family recipe) to grilled steaks, house-cut fries and smoked brisket.
The Chow Mixed Grill menu has seasonal variation and has been adjusted for customer preferences. “Like anything that you want to be successful, you listen to people around you and make changes here and there as you go,” says Serrano. “That’s the beauty of a family-owned restaurant, you don’t have to jump through corporate hoops to change things.”
Serrano notes that he’s grateful for the community encouragement and opportunity to be a business owner. “Elk River has been very supportive of me, especially when I just got into town and I didn’t know anybody,” he says. “They helped me get going, from the chamber to the fire marshal and building inspector. Everyone has been great, it’s been a great experience.”
Elk River, MN 55330