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Old Bedell Grille is a fun, quirky Cheap Eats

The Old Bedell Grille is one of the quirkiest places this Cheap Eater has visited. It’s really a shack on Grand Island located at the 90-degree turn on Ferry Road (the last road on the left off Beaver Island Parkway before Beaver Island State Park).

The Old Bedell sits where a ferry once docked to bring folks to the long-gone Bedell House Hotel.

With no real parking lot, we launched the car behind the shack, and laughed at the signs. A pulled pork sign featured a stretched out pig, while the bacon-wrapped jalapeno had sunglasses (or a mustache?). And who is “Charlotte for Supervisor”? Funny.

The Teen Angst Summer Job Fellas working also cracked us up. Taking the order, Teen No. 1 spelled everything out (literally) while Teen No. 2 looked on. Blank looks followed when we joked that they should learn shorthand. To their credit, the kids got the orders right, and worked well together in the spartan kitchen.

The menu is limited and choices and prices differed from what was online. A few items were taped over. Not sure if they were temporarily or permanently out. Stuff is super cheap.

A hamburger with chips is $4 (cheese and bacon add 50 cents each). A hot dog with chips is $3; pulled pork, $5. Clam broth is $2. Specials included a stuffed banana pepper ($3); jalapeno poppers stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon ($1, we assume each); a veggie burger ($4); and Italian sausage ($5). We were intrigued at the anomalies: a whole pizza is $10, a personal pizza, $6 and a lobster roll, $9.

Feeling loose with my cash, I ordered six clams on the half shell ($7/$12 for dozen), a stuffed hot banana pepper and the Italian sausage. For Mom, a pulled pork; for her cousin, a bacon cheeseburger.

We found a nice table on the deck. After a short time, we (barely) heard our names yelled over the thrashing waves and powerboats.

The clams were grilled, which was fine, but the sign said “on the half shell.” I asked Chef Teen No. 2, and he mumbled something about cracked shells. (Maybe they don’t want kids to get cut opening clams?) Yet the clams were good, and Teen No. 2 did offer melted butter, so that made up for it.

The stuffed banana pepper was succulent and oozed melted cheese. It wasn’t spicy hot, but that’s sometimes how it goes.

The large Italian sausage link came on a nice soft roll with grilled onions and firm red peppers, not mushy. The pulled pork was tender and smoky on the sweeter side. The bacon cheeseburger had fresh sliced tomato and lettuce, but only one piece of soft bacon.

Everything came in paper baskets with chips. Sides offered were coleslaw and a half-hearted “we think we have pasta salad,” so we stuck with chips.

Old Bedell even has “dessert.” Candy ($3/$4), milkshakes in vanilla, caramel or chocolate ($4) and chocolate-covered bananas ($3, or two for $5). The huge banana had a thick chocolate coating. (Thaw a bit before eating or risk cracked teeth.) Unfortunately “shave” ice wasn’t available, much to the chagrin of a couple of youngsters who stared longingly at the flavor bottles.

The menu also noted, “seafood for weekends and holidays.” We’re curious what those are.

The Old Bedell is a good place to grab a quick bite if you’re not fussy and even if you’re shoeless, as we saw one young urchin. It’s the perfect offbeat summer place.

Old Bedell Grille

Where: 1437 Ferry Road, Grand Island (796-9332, oldbedellgrille.com)

Hours: Sign reads, “Opened 11-7 or ‘til the party is over!”

Accessible: Would be difficult with terrain.

Extra: No indoor seating. Come by land or by sea; there’s a boat dock. A nearby bike path makes it a great stop along the ride.

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