Day 309: The Dining Car at the Gryphon

Dining Car exterior

Today’s first was a yummy treat. And an interesting experience when I can have two firsts in the same restaurant space, under two different names! Today I met my friend Georgia at the newly opened The Dining Car at the Gryphon, located downtown at 1027 S Main, in… guessed it….the Gryphon building! Earlier in the year, I had lunch for the first time at The Fork, located in the same space. This is a new venture, with new owners and management.

The Dining Car at the Gryphon, henceforth referred to simply as The Dining Car, opened in October. It has a railroad theme with train memorabilia used as décor. According to Joplin Globe reporter Wally Kennedy, railroad cars used to pull up to the building on a spur on the north side, when the Inter-State Grocer Company occupied the space. It’s an appropriate theme, yet it is not overdone. The atmosphere was comfortable, cozy and clean, and there were many occupied tables while we were there during lunch time.

The Dining Car is managed by Stacy Gamble, former manager of Jim Bob’s, which was destroyed by the tornado in 2011 and then by a fire, after it reopened in its new location. Stacy brings years of experience in the food industry to this new establishment.

The restaurant features American food including hamburgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, prime rib, fish, steaks and chicken. There are lunch and dinner menus and one just for kids. Georgia and I browsed the lunch menu and both selected the same item, the Canyon Creek Pass Chicken. This was a pan roasted chicken breast, on a base of mashed potatoes and a large fried portabella mushroom, topped with chopped avocado, feta cheese, and a special gravy type sauce. It was delicious, with a home cooked, satisfying flavor and it was just the right portion for lunch.

We enjoyed our leisurely lunch. Georgia and I have been friends for a long time. It is always good to catch up with each other’s journeys and share the recent aha’s we’ve had about life. She is one of those friends that I can not see for a while, and then when we meet, we instantly pick up where we left off in our last conversation. We share beliefs about life and we are both learning so much about who we are and what our roles are in the world. I appreciate her insights and that we can journey together, as traveling companions. And, The Dining Car just might become our new place to meet for lunch or dinner. There are so many tempting meals to experience on the menu!

Dining Car

Day 296: Sweet Carolines Treat with Cate

Sweet Carolines logo

This afternoon, my dear friend Cate and I had planned a trip to Galena, KS to visit a new ice cream parlor there with a unique twist. Due to a death in the family, that parlor is closed for a few days. We will save that adventure for another time! We decided to get together still, in search of a first, and met at the Gryphon Building in downtown Joplin to check out the new restaurant that just opened there, The Dining Car. We met at 4:00, only to discover that the restaurant didn’t open until 5:00.

No worries! We chose instead to enjoy an ice cream at Sweet Carolines Ice Cream & Coffee Parlor, also located in the Gryphon Building. I have been here once before, so to create a first, I tried something new. This wasn’t difficult, since Sweet Carolines serves 32 yummy flavors of ice cream!

I normally go for a vanilla based ice cream, such as pralines and cream, or blueberry cheesecake. I’m not a big chocolate fan. So today, I decided to go with a chocolate treat. Sweet Carlolines had several amazing looking selections. The helpful young man behind the counter let me sample a couple of possibilities. I settled on a waffle cone, with a single scoop of Pirate’s Plunder, a decadent chocolate based ice cream with chocolate covered pecans, mini caramel cups and swirls of thick caramel. Cate had pistachio with hot fudge sauce. Since she normally chooses chocolate ice cream, this was a different selection for her as well.

Sweet Carolines treat with Cate

The real treat today was getting to chat with Cate as we enjoyed our ice cream. When we get together we pick right back up on our conversation, as if we had just been chatting a few minutes ago. We met for the first time earlier this year, and yet we are like long time friends. Today we had much to catch up on and much to share about our respective journeys. We chatted long after the ice cream was gone! That is the sweetness of friendship and I appreciate Cate very much. When we at last left the ice cream parlor, we hit the “pause” button on our conversation. After all, we have two other places to visit in the near future, for firsts, and we will continue our visiting there!

Sweet Carolines treat  Pirates Plunder

Day 162: Gryphon Building Firsts


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.


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.


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.