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Barbecue up next on Farmington's restaurant menu

No more Whoppers. After more than two years sitting vacant, the former Burger King restaurant in downtown Farmington has a new occupant.

Brian Wheeler's next step toward creating the barbecue business of his dreams is going to bring him to Farmington.

Wheeler, who opened Baldy's Barbecue in Lakeville 3 1/2 years ago is in the process of turning a former Burger King into his restaurant's second outpost. He noticed the location while driving by and, after a couple of calls to the property's owners, reached an agreement.

The former fast food site has been vacant since Burger King closed its doors in December of 2010.

Wheeler's traditional dry-rub barbecue has been named best in the Twin Cities by KARE 11 and recognized three years running by Reader's Digest South of the River. His most popular sandwich is something called The Beast, a pile of brisket, bacon, cole slaw and onion rings on a six-inch bun.

Transformation of the restaurant is under way now. Wheeler has been hard at work taking out the old booths, changing the décor and finishing the kitchen. He is waiting on approval from the State of Minnesota.

When it's finished, Baldy's in Farmington will have a sports-bar atmosphere, with games on TV and music in the background.

Wheeler hopes to open his doors by April 1. He received approval for a liquor license at the Feb. 19 Farmington City Council meeting.

"Just in case I can't open by then, I can say, 'April Fools,'" he joked.

Other restaurant news

Baldy's might not be the only new restaurant showing up soon in Farmington. At the same meeting where Wheeler received his liquor license council members approved a license for Carbone's Pizza and Sports Bar. That restaurant would be located at 10 Eighth Street, the address currently occupied by Tailgater's.

Tony Marvets, whose name is on the liquor license application for the new restaurant, declined to talk specifically this week about the new restaurant. He said there are still some things to work out before it's a sure thing. But Marvets told council members last week he has targeted April 1 as the opening date for the restaurant.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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