Day 162: Gryphon Building Firsts

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Today’s firsts both took place in the Gryphon Building, located downtown at 1027 S. Main, Joplin. Formerly known as the Bagcraft Building and before that, the Inter State Grocer Building, this huge historic structure, built in 1915, sat empty for many years before being renovated in 2010. It features 123,000 square feet of office and retail space, and modern amenities with historic class and character. The Local Color Art Gallery & Studio is located in this beautiful building. There is also a restaurant, Fork American Kitchen, that I had not eaten at before, and as of today, a new ice cream shop, called Sweet Caroline’s Cream & Coffee. For my first today, I had lunch, and then dessert, in the Gryphon Building.

Fork American Kitchen was formerly Table Mesa. I did not try that restaurant before they changed their name and menu. From what I understand, Table Mesa served Latin food and this new menu focuses on American favorites with a twist, such as crab mac & cheese and curry chicken pot pie. Whatever the past restaurant name, menu and experiences were, it is most definitely in the past, so for today, for me, this was a delightful new experience. And I enjoyed my lunch. Loving a good Reuben sandwich, I chose that with a side of sweet potato fries. Both were excellent. The sweet potato fries were perfect….crispy on the outside and tender inside. Greg, who accompanied me, tried the Hollywood Chicken Sandwich with potato wedges and found those tasty as well.

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The service was good, the restaurant attractive and clean, and the atmosphere was fun. There are also three banquet rooms available that seat up to 100 people. And live music on the patio on Friday nights. I will eat here again.

Sweet Caroline’s Cream & Coffee just opened in the Gryphon Building today. After lunch we strolled down the broad hallway to this new ice cream shop with an old fashion look. Offering 32 flavors of hard packed ice cream, fine chocolates and coffee, Sweet Caroline’s is a family owned, mom and pop type shop. They also serve up such specialties as shakes, floats, sundaes and cones. The décor fits in perfectly with the charm of the old building. I had a single scoop of no sugar added raspberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone. It was delicious! Greg enjoyed a scoop of Caramel Caribou ice cream. We got our cones to go, but there was ample seating available in booths and tables.

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I hope both businesses flourish. It is great to see more and more stores and restaurants opening in downtown Joplin. And for this grand old building that sat sadly neglected for so long, it has a vibrant and well deserved new life. I love seeing such restorations. It is the ultimate in repurposing.

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