John Zelzar, GM of Roobar, Knows His Way Around the Business

| February 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

John at Roo 01-2014

by Angela Kerr


Sitting down with John Zelzer, the General Manager of Roobar is like native Coloradoan meets Green Bay Wisconsin, accent and all. Laid back and warm in his response,  John is busy establishing “place” as the Roobar is not quite downtown, not quite Lodo, off the path in North Denver in the realm of “no neighborhood.” Zelzer focuses on the positives: “We get so much traffic, such an eclectic crowd because of our location, we have become the neighborhood.”

As a young man of 18, he worked with his uncle in the bar business. John shares: “My Uncle owned a neighborhood bar.  He taught me the tricks of the trade like; if a person buys 3 or 4 drinks, buy them one.  If they ask for it…don’t.  His knowledge was vast.” Once a graduate of Westwood College in graphic design he went on to work for a Green Bay newspaper, and became the final eyes before the paper went to print.  John adds “Despite working for the paper, I always ended up bartending on the side.  It was a great way to make friends, make money and meet girls…that is where it all started.”

Once relocating back to Colorado, Zelzer developed a 12 year relationship with the owner of RooBar. Zelzer states:  “I always thought I would change the world with print, media (ya know, the years before the internet) however, after working for a newspaper for years I decided it was tearing my soul out.  In the end I was much better at bartending than at graphic design.” When asking him why he preferred the “human element”  he replies: “Because every day is a new challenge; it may be the same four walls but every day you’ve got a new group in here, with your regulars of course, your bread and butter. They say you don’t get to pick and choose your family or your regulars.  You have to find ways of achieving harmony with them while enticing new people to come in and making them all feel welcome.”  That pretty well said it all for me; John struck me as a very conscious individual working within his passion.

John considers his employees as family who attract their own clientele.  John explained that many bartenders who no longer work at the RooBar due to relocation will call him and let him know they are in town and will do “guest bartending” shifts where they reunite with regulars they developed relationships with during their tenure. As General Manager, John sets the tone by focusing on the things that matter for the customers. “We pride ourselves on our food.  We make everything from scratch, our own pizza dough, sauces and dressings. Our Pizza dough recipe has been alive for 20 years and is made fresh daily.” I personally tried the Spinach Pizza, smothered in in garlic and mozzarella and parmesan cheese with fresh spinach tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.  Great company. Great Place. Great Food.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Local Flavor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

< br>