Bldg. G really cookin’

Karen Danner
Family, food and fun: Belinda Jackson stands on the outside deck at Bldg. G Bar and Grill in Mossville. The restaurant is open seven days a week.

Not just the smell of food cooking grabs your senses as you walk into Bldg. G Bar and Grill in Mossville.

The spic-and-span appearance of the restaurant also catches your eye.

Belinda Jackson opened the doors June 6 just off Illinois Route 29 at 10307 State St., formerly home to Southern Knights and Grant’s Inn.

According to Jackson, past Caterpillar Inc. management people used to say they were having a meeting at Bldg. G, meaning they were headed to the bar at Grant’s Inn.

The idea rendered a good name for Jackson’s new business venture.

A former bar manager at Last Chance Bar and Grill in Alta, Jackson, a New York native, wanted a chance to run her own place.

“I decided that in three years, I will have it paid for, and my goal is to have my beach bar in Florida,” said Jackson.

“I’d really prefer Jamaica, but I think it’ll be a little hard in another country.”

Currently, Jackson leases the building, with plans to buy it within a year.

When she and her husband, Joe, married Aug. 18 last year, they planned to take a Jamaican honeymoon. They never got there.

Joe works all day in construction, then heads to Bldg. G after a quick shower at home.

“It’s really a strain on a relationship,” said Jackson. “You really have to know about each other or it can tear you apart.”

Bldg. G is open at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday for breakfast.

In addition to the usual breakfast fare, Bldg. G serves up homemade biscuits and gravy and “great omelets,” said Jackson.

Lunch time features daily specials. Jackson recommended customers take a big bite out of the Bldg. G burger — two 1/2-pound burgers with two kinds of cheese and pepper rings.

Dinner also features daily specials. Mondays are pasta days, and Wednesdays boast fried chicken with homemade corn fritters and two side dishes for $7.95.

Fridays are the catfish special, and Saturday night’s special offers prime rib.

Off the regular menu, customers can select from different soups each day, such as cheddar cheese, vegetable beef and French onion; a variety of salads, like taco and chicken; sandwiches; and chicken quesadillas (“They are delicious,” said Jackson.”).

On weekends, Bldg. G opens at 7 a.m., and stays open until 2 a.m. seven days a week.

Carryouts are also available by calling 579-3267.

Customers also can play pool in a new area created by removing the former waitress station wall, repainting and finishing with new hardwood floors.

The new paint continues throughout that dining area and a second large dining area. Up to 84 customers can be seated in the spacious dining areas, and there is also a relaxing deck area with various seating and tables on the side of the building.

Resembling a deck that could be found at anyone’s home, the area blooms with plants and decorations, and offers a smoking area as well as dining.

“The entire restaurant was cleaned from top to bottom and repainted,” said Jackson, “with the help of friends, families and employees.”

Currently, 11 employees work at Bldg. G. Jackson said she especially appreciates the boost her husband has given the restaurant business.

“If it wasn’t for my husband, I couldn’t do it without him,” said Jackson.

Supposedly, Bldg. G has a spirited history, according to Jackson.

“There are supposed to be spirits in the place,” she said. “I used to be afraid to come in here by myself. I call it Casper. I think if it wasn’t a good spirit, we wouldn’t be doing as good as we are.”

Jackson noted that Abraham Lincoln is said to have slept at the inn in a room upstairs in the back of the kitchen.

Today, there is an apartment upstairs in the front, with storage in the back, an area which retains its original wood floors.

The sounds of karaoke liven Bldg. G every other Friday, and Jackson said she is planning a grand opening from 7 p.m.-midnight Saturday.

Jackson welcomes everyone to try Bldg. G and make it a regular stop on their dine-out schedule.

“Send us all the business you can,” she said. “Come down and give us a chance to show you how good our food and service are.”