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Diners say goodbye to Galvin's

People had one last chance to say goodbye to one of St. Joseph's oldest restaurants Saturday.

Posted: Dec 30, 2018 11:55 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) People had one last chance to say goodbye to one of St. Joseph's oldest restaurants Saturday. 

Galvin's Dinner House first opened 1940s and for decades was a destination for lovers of fried chicken, breads, and family. The beloved restaurant passed through different owners over the last 80 years but Bill Grace will be its last.

Galvin’s Dinner House has served St. Joseph for close to 80 years, etching a place in the city’s history. The restaurant survived a fire, 14 U.S. Presidents, and five wars.

The restaurant started as a Phillip’s service station along a bus route to Kansas City on 22nd Street. By 1940, the service station became known as Galvin’s. Mrs. Galvin was known for her fried chicken served with sides like corn and coleslaw.

Bill Grace started working as a dishwasher at Galvin’s when he was 14-years-old and eventually took the restaurant over in 1982.

Friends, family and church members helped Grace re-build the restaurant on 22nd Street after an electrical fire gutted the building in 2010. The restaurant was back up and running on Easter Sunday in 2013.

In 2017, Grace opened a second location on the North Belt Highway.

Customers had 10 days to visit the iconic St. Joseph restaurant before it closed Dec. 29, 2018.

Fans, friends and family of Grace stopped into the restaurant Saturday to enjoy a landmark before it was too late.

Brad Smith and his family have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and smaller life moments at Galvin's. 

"A couple of years ago we celebrated my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary at his restaurant," Smith said.

He said he's going to miss everything about it. He's not alone. The Spotted Dog consignment store shares a parking lot with the restaurant and employees are sad to see it go.

Julie Shock has worked at the store for years, she said it wasn't just a great place to eat, it was also a one-of-a-kind St. Joseph landmark.

"It's kind of one of those legends in St. Joe," Shock said. "Everybody likes to go to Galvin's."

The legend is what brought George Davidson to the restaurant Saturday. When Davidson heard it was closing, he made his first and last visit to the famous dinner spot.

"I wanted to get in on the experience because everybody's talked about Galvin's for a long-time," he said. "So I just wanted to get in on the last moment. Better late than never."

When asked if Grace had anything to say to all of the people that have filtered through his restaurant over the years, he had a simple message.

"I just thank the folks for coming and eating at Galvin's and being a part of our lives," he said. "Thanks."

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