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2014-04-24

The Grille - comfort food a priority

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Photos by Carolyn B. Edwards
The Grille, at 907 13th Street in Bandera, offers comfort food in a family atmosphere.

Photos by Carolyn B. Edwards
Owner Bob Lynch partners with wife, Cherry, to make The Grille a nice place to be for breakfast or lunch. Bob does the cooking, Cherry handles the pots and pans, and makes the place look nice, too.

The Menu Board




Bob and Cherry Lynch have been in the restaurant business since 1988 when they opened their first place in Rockport. Bob does the cooking and Cherry handles the clean up. The couple, who have been married for over 50 years, form a dynamic partnership filled with laughter, lots of warm eye contact, and, yes, they finish each other's sentences.
"I keep thinkin' I'm retired and Bob talks me into doing it one more time," said Cherry.
Their latest effort is The Grille, located at the corner of 13th Street and Highway 173 North in Bandera.
The spacious building offers both an ambience and a menu that is filled with comfort. It's become an especially popular place for leisurely breakfasts. One group of local veterans have taken to enjoying their morning cup of coffee and a few good stories there on Thursday mornings.
Cherry's design skills have refreshed the restaurant with a soothing palette of greys, carpeting absorbs the noise, and cheerful prints adorn the walls. Now that winter is on the wane, tables in the patio area will certainly prove popular.
Diners who have enjoyed Bob's cooking at two previous locations here, first on Highway 16 South and then at a Highway 16 North site, know that they can count on good basic food at reasonable prices whenever Bob's in the kitchen.
The Grille offers a breakfast special that includes two eggs, choice of meat, hash browns or grits, toast or biscuit for $4.50. Lunch specials are also offered Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday diners can enjoy a tender and delicious roast beef plate.
Their most popular menu items are the chicken fried steak plate and the French dip. "That's shaved prime rib with a little grilled onion and mushroom, served on a hoagy bun and au jus to dip it in," explained Bob. Okay, now I'm hungry.
I joined a group at The Grille for lunch recently and the table ordered the chicken fried steak, the shrimp basket and beef fajitas. All the dishes got top ratings.
The Lynches willingly accept the challenges of running a mom and pop business in a small town. "We've been lucky with our wonderful staff," said Cherry. "We have Janis Robinson and her daughter Brandi waiting tables and Kristen Riley cooking.
"The biggest challenge for me is getting up in the morning," she added. "I'm not a morning person! But Bob is here at 6:30 every morning."
Even though the restaurant is closed on Monday, "We work seven days a week," said Bob, commenting on one of those realities for small business owners.
The Grille is open at 7 am Tuesday through Sunday, and closes at 2 pm. Breakfast is served until 11 am. "We don't do dinner," said Cherry. "We're getting too old to work all day!"
The Lynches started with a small café in a business center in Rockport and eventually wound up with five small businesses there, including a record shop.
Bob had had a career as a banker and was a bank president when the couple lost two of their children in a matter of months, one in a vehicle accident and the other to a long-term illness.
"We decided we needed to change direction in our lives," said Cherry, who had raised five kids and worked in education.
"We simplified our lives," Bob summed up.
Bob had always loved to cook and was good at it. "His mother was a fantastic cook and he picked it up from her," said Cherry. It may be in the family genes because their son is now the executive chef at the Rockport Inn.
"We've always served comfort food - meat loaf, roast, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes," said Bob.
So, if you've got a craving for a plate of food like your momma used to make, stop by The Grille for breakfast or lunch. You'll be glad you did.