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June 25, 2023

Mike's BBQ to change ownership after five years in South Philly

At the end of June, founder Mike Strauss is selling the restaurant to 24-year-old Drexel alum Daniel Grobman, who plans to keep the menu largely the same

Food & Drink Restaurants

Mike's BBQ founder Mike Strauss (left) will be selling his South Philly restaurant to 24-year-old Drexel alum Daniel Grobman (right) at the end of the month.

A South Philly barbecue destination will soon begin a new era, with the same beloved menu.

Mike's BBQ, which has been located at 1703 S. 11th St. since January 2018, will be sold by founder Mike Strauss to 24-year-old Daniel Grobman at the end of the month. 

MORE: Herr's announces Flavored by Philly chip contest finalists

Strauss said he wasn't necessarily planning to sell the business, but a real estate agent contacted him "out of the blue" with a client interested in purchasing a BBQ spot. Strauss met with Grobman, and was impressed by the young chef.

"From the moment I met (Grobman), I loved his energy and work ethic, his devotion to the craft, and his insistence on serving the finest BBQ possible," Strauss said in a release. "He is committed to retaining the entire staff while staying active in the community, which was very important to us."

Grobman, who will take over as the restaurant's owner/pit master in the beginning of July, has been smoking meat since the age of 14. He worked as a prep cook and pit master in high school, and studied entrepreneurship at Drexel University as he worked at Philly BBQ restaurants Fette Sau and Deke’s Bar-B-Que. During the pandemic, he ran his own business, Danny D's BBQ, from his backyard.

“I always knew my goal was to own a restaurant,” Grobman said in a release. "Mike Strauss is such a great guy, he’s so talented and has built an incredible business, and I’m ready to get in there and continue his mission. ... This is a really exciting time for me, especially because smoking meats is a huge passion of mine, and this position is going to allow me to continue to perfect my craft while learning from one of the best.”

Along with keeping the restaurant's name and staff, Grobman also plans to keep the restaurant's menu the same, at least for now. He will be adding a few original dishes, though, including a brisket sandwich called "The Fat Cook."

Strauss said he plans to stick around Mike's BBQ through the summer to help Grobman and the team with the restaurant's transition. After that, Strauss is contemplating a move to his wife's native Philippines, where the couple has been "planting roots" for a few years. He will continue to be involved in the Philly food scene, though, as a partner at Sidecar Bar & Grill in Graduate Hospital.

“There is no better food destination to me than Philly," Strauss said. "I’ve had some of the best meals of my life and made some lifelong friends here. I truly love the community."

Strauss launched Mike's BBQ back in 2015 as a pop-up before opening the storefront three years later. Through the years, Mike's BBQ has received various accolades, including honors from Philly Mag, Food Network and Food & Wine magazine. 

The restaurant also was recently honored as a finalist in Herr's Flavored by Philly chip contest. The snack company has released three new chip flavors inspired by local small businesses, including the Mike's BBQ Korean BBQ Wings chips. Customers can purchased the chips and vote for their favorite now through Aug. 8, with the restaurant behind the top chip flavor winning a $10,000 prize.

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