Bob Sambol Leaves Bob’s Steak & Chop House for MCrowd’s Mercury Grill in Dallas

Bob Sambol leaves Bob's Steak & Chop House officially "Bob-less."

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Minutes ago, Bob Sambol told his staff and investors that he is decamping the legendary Bob’s Steak & Chop House to take a job at MCrowd. Come Monday, diners at the Mercury Grill will find Sambol waiting to greet them at the front door. He’ll run that operation and will spearhead an MCrowd foray into fine dining with as-yet-unnamed future restaurants in the Dallas area.

Naturally, if you’ve been playing along at home, you are right now recalling that Sambol is a thief who recently copped to stealing $300,000 from an investor. I asked MCrowd co-owner Ray Washburne why he would take on that risk and the baggage that comes with it. I found it curious that he didn’t have a ready answer and seemed to be thinking out loud as he looked for one. Washburne said Sambol is a talented guy and a hard worker. “In the restaurant business,” he said, “you have very few people who are true restaurateurs, who work the door and know their customers’ names.” Sambol is one of those guys. (Washburne said Al Biernat is another.) But Washburne also said the hire was a real Dallas thing. “One reason Dallas is a great city is if you’re honest and you work hard, people are willing to listen to you,” he said. I replied, “Honest?” Washburne laughed and said, “We’re all sinners. Bob has addressed his issues. He’s looking for a fresh start, and working with the structure that MCrowd has, he can flourish.” Hang on, though. There’s one more reason Washburne gave for making the hire. Sambol got deferred adjudication and is on probation for 10 years. “If he messes up once,” Washburne said, “he’s done. He’s got a gun to his head.” In other words, he thinks Sambol is a safe bet.

For his part, Sambol told Nancy: “I’m really excited. I’ve had some incredible heart-to-heart talks with all of the partners. I’ve been honest with them, and I respect [Mercury Grill chef Chris Ward] and his staff. We are not looking back. We’re looking forward to increasing business and perhaps creating new projects for Chris.”

Ward is known for being, oh, let’s call it quiet. What is going to happen when MCrowd installs an operator at the Mercury who has grown accustomed, over the years, to having his name on the building? “Bob has a great passion for the restaurant business,” Ward said. “He has plans to boost the business at Mercury. We’ve also talked about doing another restaurant together.”


  • Tim Rogers

    I forgot to include one more detail that I think is telling: Washburne told me that before he hired Sambol, he called several “household names” in Dallas, people who know Sambol, to ask them what they think of the guy. Washburne said the feedback was unanimous. Everyone told him that Sambol is a solid guy. That also helped him make his decision.

  • Borborygmus

    Who’s taking odds on how long this will last?

  • LJT

    Thank goodness Mercury completed their expansion a few years ago.

  • KR

    M Crowd has acquired a great talent and he will complement and enhance what Chris Ward has already accomplished in his distinguished career. Bob will certainly bring the Highland Park regualrs to Mercury I just hope he leaves the big carrot at Bob’s.

  • Randy

    Chris Ward is the best chef in Dallas. I love Bobs too. This sounds like a great get for Mercury. Let Chris cook!

  • RidemCowgirl


  • B

    This is big!!!!! Can you say Win Win…..
    Great move I can’t imagine what kind of vibe this will bring to the dining room of Mercury.
    Let’s keep an eye out for Emmitt and the boys.

  • joeat

    Let’s think about Wahsburne’s quotes – “Bob is a talented guy and hard worker” and he is “honest and works hard”. What in the world is Washburne smoking? This is going to play out hilariously.

    I will admit, Bob lasted longer at Bob’s than I ever imagined. This whole thing (mess) is an incredible joke for Bob and Mercury – they do deserve each other – old, tired and overpriced.

  • B

    Joeat you sound cheap and bitter…

  • joeat

    @B, you obviously did not contemplate Washburn’s quotes to make such a stupid statement. Try again.

  • Jane

    Boy oh boy… first Michael Cox, now Bob. I can only imagine the sanguinary doings that will transpire *smirking*

  • DDR, Esq.

    So is Bob’s steakhouse closing?

  • B

    No Joeat I did read Washburn’s quotes. I’m not in total agreement with some of his answers but your statement about Mercury and they deserve each other and the old tired and overpriced comment has you coming off as bitter and cheap.
    Mercury given the location is still considered one of the top restaurants in Dallas and that’s not luck.

  • marisa

    Once a cheater……always a cheater.
    Ray…watch your back and cash flow.

  • Dick

    Congrats Tim on a real scoop – I was in Mercury last night and even the staff don’t know about this! It seems to be that professionalism is the looser in this – too many backroom deals gets you to this situation – just ask Bob!

  • Sindy

    Let’s not forget that Bob (the successful restauranteur had his company file for Chapter 11 in 2009). Ray are you really going to say “if you work hard and you are honest that people are willing to listen to you” what is honest about being a theif??????Sounds like you DONT have a clue!!! Well there goes the Mercury!

  • Neutral

    Birds of a feather flock together!

  • Mixx

    Perhaps Bob would be better suited for Winstar Casino’s at the restaurant there.

  • Tater

    Neutral nailed it!

  • CollinBabs

    Yuck. I think the Mercury has tarnished itself now. Too bad. Watch the destabilization and look for staff turnover, eventual relocation/remodeling, and an extended period of attempting to rediscover the groove.

  • Jimmy

    I guess when you become a big shot like Ray Washborne you don’t care what other people think…… Its only been a couple of weeks since Bob pleaded guilty to stealing $300,000 yes thats $300,000!!! Ray hires him for the Mercury within 10 days! Watch the cash register guys he has 10 years to pay back that $300,000 – i hope you are paying him well. The whole thing smells of desperation but I cant figure out what Ray is so desperate about! I for one have scratched the mercury off my dining list!!!!

  • Macarena

    Let Chris cook and let Bob run the floor..

  • Kate and Will

    What a vengeful lot with no forgiveness in your hearts – may you not be treated so harshly when you are judged. On second thought, may you judge each other and live with the consequences. Bob has not been given a second chance, this is his last chance. Fail and its off to jail for a very long time. How do you root for that failure?

  • Neutral

    Kate and Will, and may you live happily ever after!

  • RangersFan

    “a solid guy”???? So when do people use that description for a thief who pleads guilty to a 1st degree felony??

  • sarah

    That’s horrible for Chef Ward!They should just shut down Bob’s altogether! The food and service suck! Bob in North Dallas what a joke!

  • tinkerbell

    Sorry to hear this. Love Mercury for the many things it is NOT and the Bob’s vibe is one of them. 🙁

  • shaneM

    What is Mercury thinking by bringing this loser aboard? He brings nothing to the table. If anything Bob has everything to gain from Mercury!!!!

  • @macarena,you nailed it.

  • simsjinxyjim

    bob is a great guy and i would pick him for my team everytime.

  • tomp

    Bob Sambol great guy?? Not sure many people would consider him that these days. Ran restaurants into the ground, filed bankruptcy, and a thief. All successful businesses want to add a character like that!