Friday, December 30, 2016

TOP STORY >> Cook buys steakhouse

Leader staff writer

Sherwood resident Gerald Grummer started working at Western Sizzlin in North Little Rock in 1977, under Don Parks, working his way up from entry level to franchise owner of the Jacksonville Western Sizzlin. Today, Grummer will open his restaurant one last time. Sunday he will be a retiree.

The restaurant’s name will change to Barnhill’s Steaks-Buffet and will be owned and operated by Steve Barnhill, a former employee of Grummer’s who will be taking over Jan. 1.

“Steve’s a really good guy. I think he’ll improve the store. I always try to be as positive as I can be,” Grummer said.

Grummer, who grew up in Conway, worked at all four restaurants owned by Parks. Grummer became general manager of the Jacksonville restaurant around 1997. In 2002, he was “working as a manager, and they offered a franchise, and I said, ‘Let’s try it.’”

Grummer said he always tells people, “I just work half days, but I get to pick which 12 hours it is. I’ll miss the long hours.”

He says what he has enjoyed most about his long career is the people. “The people keep me active.” He said he also enjoyed cooking.

“I want to slow down, while I still have my health,” Grummer said. “I still want to try to do something, but don’t know what. My main job will be to keep my wife happy.”

Grummer’s wife, Andrea, is a flight attendant. He says now he’ll have the time to travel some with her, and maybe “try to play a little golf.”

He’s also looking forward to having more time to do things with his five children and eight grandchildren – ranging in age from 1 year to two attending college.