DURAND (WJRT) - (10/17/16) - We're seeing a lot of older buildings being re-purposed these days. In Durand, a 90-year-old building is being put to new use as a restaurant.
The Union Station Smoke House on Main Street in Durand is a great place to go for barbecue ribs and pulled pork. The building used to be a gas station. The dining room at one time was the service bay.
"The very front part of the building was originally a filling station. The two bays on the east side of the building were added on in the '50s. The back half was added on in the '70s. I acquired the building in 2003, ran it as a gas station-repair shop for 10 years," said Mike Malachowski.
Mike closed the gas station three years ago and began the process of converting it to a restaurant. Union Station Smoke House has been open a month and a half now.
It's open Thursday-Saturday, 4-9 p.m. and Sunday from 1-7 p.m.
The walls, both inside and out, are decorated with antiques and automotive-related signs.
Mike's been collecting the material from swap meets and garage sales for 25 years. The restaurant is a short distance from the Durand Union Station train depot.
The menu is not big. Mike describes the selections as a barbecue picnic. He bought a commercial smoker which, he says, makes the ribs exceptionally good. There's an outdoor patio and if the weather's warm, the garage doors can be opened.
Mike's daughter says this is the only restaurant she knows that used to be a gas station.
"This is a special place. It's definitely not like anything else I've ever seen. They have cool places on TV and stuff, but my personal opinion, this takes the cake," said Emily Malachowski.