Niagara Gazette


June 21, 2014

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: A visit to the Old Bedell Grill

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Mariners — Until the South Grand Island Bridge opened about this time in 1935, visitors arrived here by boat, berthing at the east end of what we unimaginatively call Ferry Road. Feasting frequently followed. When the bridge opened the ferry folded but now, almost 80 years later, dockside dining has returned.

We visited on Father’s Day. Doug could have stayed all afternoon, watching the boats pull in, the hot dogs sizzle and the clam broth emit its fragrant vapor. It was one of those “Goldilocks” weather days so coveted by Perry Jost, new proprietor of the Old Bedell Grill.

Here once stood the Bedell House, a Roaring ‘20s getaway destroyed by fire about a quarter-century ago. The late Charlotte Guenther kept the surviving shed going ‘til she was called up. Two summering schoolteachers ran it three years until they toted up the balance sheet and realized their profits amounted to less than minimum wage.

Enter Perry Jost, a Californian, and partner Deborah Saxton Lewis, Islander by birth. “Maybe I had different, West Coast, eyes,” he told us this week during a brief break from a breathless schedule.

“But what I saw was a long stretch of river without a lot of places to pull in.” (One, Turner’s First Turn about a mile to the north, has a profitable, but more party-driven, clientele.)

It’s a lovely setup. A hand-hewn wooden deck extends about 20 yards out above the water, and for the less adventuresome there are bumbershooted tables within a whiff of the grill. Actually, the olfactory sensations extend pretty far. We saw several craft in mid-river suddenly turn west. Jost says a sea-level sign – not visible from land – heralds the Grill’s presence, but also, “your nose will tell you.”

The key to success, Jost says, is “consistency, just knowing that we’ll always be there.” It’s open 11 a.m. until the indefinite dusk and last year ran ‘til mid-October, this year perhaps not so long. Besides the standard dog-and-burger fare there are crab cakes (all gone by the time we arrived), clams, baked wings and a roasted chicken that was gaining raves on Father’s Day. (We had a later engagement.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Quest for an appointment comes up short We're rolling up our sleeves for Quest. The Big Mac of blood tests, the Tops of tourniquets, the Sears of screenings, opens on our Island at Monday's crack of dawn.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Davis, Vincent mug VINCENT DAVIS: Pledge your allegiance to the Slurpee, America's treat By now you must be aware that it is, in fact, summer. And since summer is a season not characterized by any obvious weather events (sometimes it's hot for days in a row, sometimes you get a bunch of rainy days and chilly nights) but instead activities, I'd like to bring attention to an underrated staple of summer sun enjoyment: Consuming the brain freeze-inducing snack classic, the Slurpee.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page