Randy Brown is a really happy customer. He finishes a satisfying serving of chicken salad and says he would eat at Grunow’s Kitchen every day, if he could. He goes on to say that he does make it in weekly. He shares a table, in a comfortable and spotlessly clean setting and a fabulous meal with Scott King, Matt King and Byron Evans. Scott King says he doesn’t eat at Grunow’s Kitchen because of any special dietary restrictions but, “It’s just the quality of the food. You have to try their cauliflower mac and cheese, but really everything here is perfect!” Brown adds, “They go above and beyond,” just as owner Patricia Grunow stops by and greets the table of happy and well fed customers, who are clearly enjoying the atmosphere and conversation.
After providing months of sodium-free cooking for her own father in an independent living facility, Grunow and her sister realized there was a business opportunity in the making: Grunow’s Kitchen serves 100 percent nut-free and gluten-free dishes that make eating out at restaurants a possibility for some of its customers. “I especially remember one family whose daughter had a birthday party here. We made her a vegan birthday cake that was so good, she shared slices with other customers in the restaurant at the time. The daughter was allergic to so many ingredients that the mom actually cried because her child could now order from a menu,” Grunow reminisces.
Grunow, a newly Certified Dietary Manager (CDM), has big plans for expanding the full-scale restaurant kitchen’s offerings to even more people who need specialized meal support. “One customer’s mother passed away and said that her dad didn’t know how to boil water,” she says. Grunow’s business plan includes closing on Mondays for cooking classes and making outbound meal preps for customers needing special diets. “And the dream after that is to have a gluten-free meal truck!” Grunow imagines.
Operations Manager Anna Glider explains that their offerings are as organic, garden-to-table and locally sourced as possible. Their own outdoor garden provides much seasonal bounty. “We get our honey and bee pollen from Horseshoe Point Honey in Suffolk. Our mission is to educate our community on the benefits of organic, fresh ingredients and the importance of healthy choices to better our lifestyles, improve our health and sharpen our minds,” says Glider’s husband, Michael Hildebrand, who is the restaurant’s assistant manager. He also has an in-home functional and therapeutic training business.
Denille Olivio is another happy customer. She says, “Grunow’s is a fantastic family restaurant. The food is always fresh and made to order. It is the only local restaurant able to safely address all the allergies and dietary restrictions in our family. A lot of other restaurants struggle with cross contamination of allergens in the kitchen, which means our kid ends up really sick. But that has never happened at Grunow’s. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. The staff come out to greet us and know us by name. We really appreciate having a safe restaurant for everyone in our family to enjoy together, and we like supporting small business. We feel so lucky having them in Yorktown.”
TO THE POINT:
Address: 4336 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Yorktown, VA 23692
Contacts: Patricia Grunow, owner
Anna Glider, operations manager