The morning after the fire after I had realized that it was a great possibility that the walls of the Rock Cafe seemed to be relatively stable, I began to fear for the Rock Cafe grill. This 48 inch solid piece of steel was an anchor to the flavor and quality of the food at the Rock. I had a teensy bit of hope that under 5 tons of tar roof system and debris that the grill may just be salvagable. Call me optimistic. I had been told by several Stroud fireman that there was absolutely nothing salvageable inside. But with childlike optimisism, I kept the faith! Something I get my nature. A few days later when I finally braved entering the building this area was where I most wanted to get to. Of course, it was in the middle of the building!
Reaching the wall, I decided to be brave and stick my arm through the window and feel for the grill surface to check if it was smooth! Although, covered in ash and debris the surface was smooth and the butter wheel, something used to easily apply butter to bread and one of my favorite pieces, was in tact.
Looking at the devastation, most would not have seen the positive of this but, it seemed to me that this grill was absolutely in tact! This was a happy happy day for me in spite of everything. The grill had been spared!! The venthood fell upon a microwave stand on one side and a stand up freezer on the other side. I had replaced the freezer at least 5 times in my 15 years at the Rock Cafe because of its closeness to all the hot equipment and this was the first stand up freezer ever bought! WOW what luck!
The picture above shows Martin and Matt Thomas preparing to drag this grill out from under the hood. The wall had been torn down.The grill had never been moved in the over 70 years it had been in the cafe. We had no idea how it was assembled or how we would move it. As it turned out, the top comes off relatively easy and although the heaviest part we were able to get it out. Once the top is off, one can see the gas jets and that is when I discovered the name Wolf etched onto the gas jets!! I knew this piece of equipment was well made but had no idea it was a Wolf. The grill was stored until just a few weeks ago when I decided to drag it out and begin working on cleaning it up. I did very little work with it until David became interested and took over my project. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this grill was capable of becoming this clean. Armed with only oven cleaner, David wrestled this grill into a state it hasn’t seen in over 70 years. It truly does look like a brand new grill. I do believe that as he worked on it as well as Terry who also couldn’t help but assist in some of the scraping found the same bond I have with this truly alive piece. It certainly is a positive to have it restored. It tells a great story of its own! This grill has cooked burgers for men heading to and coming from WWII, family’s like the Joad’s running towards Cali and from the great depression, for the giant new era of the 50’s when car travel became so popular carrying happy new family’s to vacations, for the bands of the new found Rock N Roll movement who traveled the country on tour, and for the hippies of the 70’s traveling like gypsies!! These and so much more have found there way to have a famed burger either; indeed this grill has a story to tell!When I first entered the building, I couldn’t believe that David and Terry were able to resurrect the grill to this glory! It really got me pumped to get the gas hooked up and start cooking! It is truly one of the things I’ve been most excited about!