GRANT – All aboard!! Next stop, Rib City!
If you are looking for BBQ, The Historic Grant Station now houses some darn good food and homemade ice cream.
Locals Chris and Judy Pozgar purchased the old building on the corner of Highway US1 and 1st St. in Grant in October 2011. In 3 to 4 years, they turned it into a one of a kind restaurant, Island Paddle, Old Grant Creamery, and The Barn.
Rib City at Grant Station, although a franchise, this location is owned and operated by local folks with house-smoked meats and poultry and many housemade sides.
Judy explains the day they purchased the site “I got a call from Chris, and he said, I bought the Old Grant Station building. We are going to open a pawn shop or a restaurant or something.”
Judy being born and raised in Roseland and from the Fischer family knew exactly how difficult it can be being in the restaurant business. The Fischers have been in the restaurant business for generations. Judy described her husband Chris as “Walt Disney like.” He sees things that other people don’t.
Chris is originally from Eau Gallie and once in the landscaping business. Chris and Judy were once avid travelers and now avid antique collectors, restaurant owners, ice cream shop owners, real estate developers and even in the wedding business.
On my first visit to Rib City and The Old Grant Creamery, my mother ordered a full rack of baby back ribs. I had the ribs and chicken combo. For sides, we chose the housemade mac n cheese, housemade baked beans, housemade coleslaw, and Southern green beans.
The ribs are Danish Babybacks, smoked in house and proprietary to the Grant location. The meat is tender, falls off the bone and delicate. It has that smokey wood flavor and sweet finish glazed with BBQ sauce. These are my favorite so far in the area.
The smoked chicken contains no hormones or antibiotics and is cooked to perfection. It pulls from the bone easily and has a gorgeous deep golden brown color and a nice smokey flavor.
The four sides mom and I shared were all very good. Housemade mac n cheese was my favorite side dish. The pasta was al dente and the real cheese so creamy. They make the baked beans in-house as well. They were a little too sweet for me but had a rich molasses flavor and chunks of smoked meat. The coleslaw was fresh, crunchy and a touch of sweet how I like it. And for the Southern green beans, canned but seasoned lightly with good flavor. I would have liked to see some fresh green beans to go along with all the other homemade sides.
The dinners also came with a thick slice of Texas toast. Great for dipping, scooping, wiping and sopping up those sides.
Our server “Sylliac” (Stephanie) was super attentive and uber sweet. Fast with our refills and knew her job very well.
During our meal, we hear the train come charging by and next thing we know we hear Johnny Cash!
“I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since, I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone”
I said, “What is the chance of that!?”
Come to find out they have a button in the back which triggers the song to play. These folks think of everything.
After dinner, we stepped on over to the Old Grant Creamery which is in the same building. All their ice cream is homemade offsite at a dedicated ice cream kitchen nearby. I chose a flavor called Mia’s Cookie Jar. Named after Chris and Judy’s granddaughter Mia. This youngin has good taste.
My mom had a scoop of Moose Tracks. Both were very fresh and creamy, but light and not too rich with that old school ice cream feel. They were also loaded with lots of cookies and candy. Bring one, bring all, bring the kids!
On my second visit, Owner Judy recommended the Pork Skyscraper sandwich. It had house smoked sliced pork piled high on Texas toast. The pork was moist and tender. I tried both the BBQ sweet sauce and the BBQ mustard sauce. I really liked them both equally. I had to have that awesome mac n cheese again and give the baked beans another try, but still a bit too sweet for me.
Overall, these folks do a great job with their food and the staff is well trained. They have a great rustic look, a bar that serves beer & wine, and some excellent homemade desserts.
Be sure to say “Hi” to Judy the owner, and tell her Brian sent ya!
8.5 out of 10
Read on for a short history lesson and some fun facts about the Historic Grant Station.
Grant Station originally opened in 1894 and throughout its 125-year history has seen multiple owners. Louis Benson operated the store for a few years then sold it to Lars Jorgensen who named it “Jorgensen’s General Store.” It also served as a post office, telegraph office, trading post and grocery store.
In 1956 the Jorgensen’s sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. John Swiger. They named the store “The Towne and Country Shop.”
In 1962 after the death of Mr. Swiger, the old store stood with closed doors until 1995. Robert and Lisa Knoblauch restored the shop as “The Grant Grocery.” And on June 25, 1999, the building was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as Jorgensen’s General Store.
- the back of the building facing the train tracks was originally the front of the General store.
- The Grant Train Station Depot that once stood at the tracks behind the store was moved from its original site to 5796 US Highway 1.
- The Bensen House is a Historical Site and was moved from its original location, which was about 300 feet south of 1st St. on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon. It was also relocated to 5796 US Highway 1.
Rib City at Grant Station is located at 5390 US-1, Grant-Valkaria, FL 32949. For more info, call 312-241-6510.
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