Mac and Bob's opened for business August 8th, 1980. Bob Rotanz and Jim "Mac" McEnerney, both Roanoke College graduates of 1978 and native New Yorkers, decided to open a restaurant across the street from their Alma Mater in downtown Salem, Virginia. Mac and Bob opened a ten stool "Sub Pub" selling New York style sandwiches and beer.
In October of 1980, Jim "Mac" McEnerney decided to move back to New York and sold his interest in the restaurant to Bob Rotanz. Mac entered the financial services business with Merrill Lynch and is still employed there. Mac and Bob are still close friends to this day and keep in touch on a regular basis.
In April of 1981, Mac and Bob's moved their location down the street to their current location, 316 E. Main St., where the seating capacity increased from 10 to 36. This was the time that Joe Dishaw, also a graduate of Roanoke College, class of 1978, bought into the business and became Bob's new partner. Joe is also originally from New York.
In 1982 Mac and Bob's expanded from 36 seats to 90 seats. In 1985 the drinking age in Virginia was changed from 18 years old to 21. In order to attract a larger market Mac and Bob's decided to expand both the menu and the restaurant. Joe Dishaw enrolled in the finest culinary school in the world, the Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, NY. Joe completed a 22 month chef program and graduated with honors.
In 1986 Mac and Bob's expanded from 90 seats to 120 seats. Joe designed a new, more efficient kitchen that was four times the size of the previous kitchen. This kitchen, with new restaurant equipment, enabled mac and Bob's to make the transition from a pizza and sandwich menu to a full service restaurant with a more expanded menu.
From 1986-1992 the restaurant's popularity grew to a point where there were waiting lines almost every night, and weekend evenings were extremely busy with long waits for tables. In 1992 Mac and Bob's invested in their largest expansion, doubling the size of the restaurant. The seating capacity went from 120 seats to 230 seats, including a 48-foot bar. Tony Reyes, a friend of both Bob's and Joe's and also a Roanoke College graduate of 1978, invested with his friends and became a silent partner. Tony currently resides with his family in Brooklyn, NY.
Finally, in 2006, Mac and bob's added an outdoor courtyard with a covered outdoor bar. This expansion increased the seating capacity from 230 to 330. In 2007 the Roanoke Times named mac and Bob's the Best Outdoor Dining Spot in the entire Roanoke Valley.
In the spring of 2010 Mac and Bob's opened our new breakfast menu. After months of research and menu development we opened for breakfast and Sunday brunch. We are proud of our new breakfast menu featuring Sweet Potato Pancakes, omelets made to order, Eggs Benedict and Stuffed French Toast. We also make our own sausage gravy and biscuits with seasoned flour from Big Spring Mill in Elliston, Virginia.
We now open for brunch on Sundays from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Our customers can order any menu items off our breakfast, lunch or dinner menu during our brunch hours. Come by and see us.
Mac and Bob's has been named the Platinum Award Winner the Best Restaurant in Salem every year since 1998.