At a buffet-style counter, customers decide between rice or noodles, several types of meat, and a variety of vegetables and sauces, before their chosen ingredients sizzle and steam on the flat surface of a circular Mongolian-style grill.
The Mongolian grill reopened at the end of October in the east side of the building that hosts the Knok Knok Lounge, 1969 SE Stephens St., Roseburg.
“One thing I love about the Mongolian grill is everything is fresh, fast and delicious,” said Joe Bardaville, the owner. “It’s nice to go from a bar environment to a family restaurant.”
Dried grass decorations hang along the circular staircase that separates the downstairs and upstairs dining areas, and customers can watch Bardaville stir and prepare their meals on the open grill. In the future, Bardaville hopes to expand the grill to offer comfort food like pulled pork, nachos and pasta.
The Mongolian grill had operated at the location for 15 years before closing for four years.
“People missed it because there aren’t a lot of places where you can customize it every time you come,” said Brad Strong, a staff member.
The building has gone through several changes over the years, and the west end of the building used to house the Blackbird Bistro. Bardaville said he’s at least the third Joe who has owned a business at the location.
When the previous Joe, Joe Allen, retired, Bardaville bought it and turned the east end of the location into the Knok Knok Lounge in April 2016. The name Knok Knok refers to speakeasies during the prohibition era, when customers would have to knock to be let in. The tiki bar had sat directly on top of the Mongolian grill, but at the beginning of August, Bardaville decided to move it over to the west end of the building, which had been vacant since the Blackbird Bistro left.
“It’s definitely different than any other bar you’re going to go to,” said Talea Rockhold, the manager of the Knok Knok Lounge.
In its bigger space, the bar now features a foosball table, movie projector and a stage where the business’s house band called Guacamole plays its funky, jazzy tunes most Saturdays. The tiki bar offers drinks under red and blue lights and cocktail umbrellas decorating the ceiling. Between tiki torches and bamboo, Ivan the plecostomus rests in a fish tank while goldfish swim around him. Behind the fish tank is a cozy couch area where people can play Jenga and Cards against Humanity, and across the room is a piano decorated with old paintings people had given the staff.
During the holiday season, the Knok Knok Lounge plans to put up a tree where people can bring toys to donate to children through Department of Human Services and Casa de Belen. The location plans to host a service industry day on Sundays, to offer a place for hanging out and watching movies for anyone who works in the service industry in Roseburg.
“It takes a special person to work consistently in the service industry,” Rockhold said.
The business is open at 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays.