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St. Joseph institution closes doors permanently

Beloved restaurant in St. Joseph, Galvin’s Dinner House, served its last customers Saturday night.

Posted: Dec 30, 2018 12:06 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A St. Joseph institution closed its doors permanently Saturday night.

Galvin’s Dinner House through various owners and locations has been serving charming family-style food for close to 80 years. The owner, Bill Grace, announced on Facebook in mid-December that he had made the decision to close the restaurant down before the new year.

Grace said he has shed a lot of tears about the decision but he knows it’s time.

“It’s been a great-run,” Grace said Saturday. “It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, is to say goodbye. But we’re still going to be here, it still goes on and I just thank the folks for coming and eating at Galvin’s and being a part of our lives.”

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

Grace said he’s ready to enjoy some time with his wife and family.

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.
Asked what some of his best memories were over the years, Grace said without hesitation, “The people. You meet so many people.”

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