Friendly faces, good food at Buckboard Bar

This story is part of Meet Your Neighbor, a series designed to tell you something new about the people in your community. Participants are chosen at random for the interviews, in which we strive to share a portion of their lives with you, the reader. Look for this series once each month.

REED CITY — Customers seeking an award-winning burger or just a listening ear can find what they’re looking for at the Buckboard Bar and Grille.

Originally established in 1936 on Upton Avenue in Reed City as Smitty’s Bar, the business became the Buckboard Bar and Grille in the late 70s, switching ownership a few times. Today, with recent renovations completed to open up more space, the business aims to be a place where family and friends unite for good times.

With a stove and countertop behind the bar, customers enjoy watching their award-winning food being cooked and assembled while they sit just feet away.

This week, the Herald Review shines a business spotlight on the Buckboard Bar and Grille, located at 108 W. Upton Ave. in Reed City.

HERALD REVIEW: Give a brief explanation of what your business does or specializes in.

SMITH: The Buckboard is a place where good friends and family meet for good times with our homemade daily specials and soups. Our “Best Burger in Osceola County” is always fresh and hand-patted by us along with our award-winning chili that was voted “Best in Town” recently. Here at the Buckboard, you will always be greeted with a warm welcome and a smile.

What is one thing most people don’t know about your business?

SMITH: We have made improvements in the past year. We have really opened the place up. We made it a little brighter, a little more cheery and our food is wonderful. (So the returning customers say!) We offer two big screen T.V.s for all of the in season ball games and Nascar races. We have a juke box so you can listen to the music of your choice and also have two pool tables if you’re up for a game or two. We will have live music and dancing to classic rock-n-roll and country music soon, as well as Keno!

How does your business give to the community?

SMITH: We give to our community a warm and relaxing place to kick their heels up with family friendly faces - staff and customers alike.

What is an interesting trend you’ve seen with your company, or customers?

SMITH: Once they have been here, whether they are locals, from out of town or from out of state, they always say they will return for another burger. Most everybody comments on the fact that they can sit and watch their food being cooked in a nice, clean place. They love it!

What is the best and worst thing about being in the business that you’re in?

SMITH: The best thing is meeting new people every day and hearing their stories, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Knowing that you made their day by giving them your advice or just lending an ear is always a good feeling.

The worst thing is dish duty or accidentally putting cheese on a customer’s burger when they didn’t want it.