Osgood Grub Co. turns 30

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

The Osgood Grub Company is having a birthday. It will be 30-years-old this year. Jim, Marsha, Brad and David Bultman are the owners of this family business. And, family is what this restaurant is all about.

As Jim tells it, the building started out in 1939 as a milk business, the Dunbar-Bultman Dairy owned by Jim’s dad and Ralph Dunbar. Later, the front part became a restaurant, The Dairy Bar.

While the building was being readied for their restaurant opening, Jim’s dad, Boots Bultman, walked into the Grub and announced to Roy Black, who was putting up ceiling tiles, “It’s a boy!” That was in 1949 when Jim was born.

Jim Bultman, along with his then partner Bill Abplanalp, started the business in 1977. (Jim bought Bill out about two years later). Marsha Bultman said, “Brad was just a toddler then and I was really, really pregnant with David.”

When the restaurant opened in 1977, the milk business was still located in the back part of the building. Later it moved across the street and Jim took over the entire building for the restaurant.
Down through the years, the employees at the Grub have been like family to the Bultmans. Thelma Kelly was their first cook. She was known for her pies and their towering meringue. Marsha said Kelly would have five or six pans going at the same time cooking her pie filing, but she didn’t want any help, she wanted everyone out of “her” kitchen!

Other long time employees have been Tonya Peetz, Hervey Byard, Pam Monroe, Carol Eckstein, Michelle Holman, Lorraine Furlow, Devota Dean and Carol Evans. For several years Jeff and Cathy Volz managed the restaurant.

One can’t come into the Grub without noticing all the “stuff” on the walls. Farris Dunagan, “handyman extraordinaire” put up most of it. Dunagan also made the tables and booths that are still in use today. Jim got a lot of the old doors and stained glass used in the restaurant from the old Freeman Hotel. When they first opened the restaurant, Jim bought two pick-up trucks full of “scratch and dent” items from Donald Dunbar and Dunagan found places for everything.

After that, people just began donating things. Gene Young gave him an organ from the old Catholic church. Helen Dunbar had some old pictures of the area. They were made into the large posters displayed around the restaurant. There is a stuffed fish from Doc Row’s doctor’s office. The entire restaurant is a history of Osgood.

Jim could talk for hours on who gave him each piece of memorabilia in the restaurant. He said when people come in for the first time many will just wander through and look at everything in amazement.
From the outside no one could miss the outdoor sculptures made by Dale Loughrey of Australia. Loughrey was in this country working and made the pieces out of old junk farm equipment. There is General Osgood, Don Quixoti, a turtle, a large spider and several others.

Most people who go to the Grub don’t pay much attention to their surroundings. That’s because they’ve seen it a hundred times before. At the Grub, their customers are their friends.

They’re not open for breakfast anymore but there is a group of friends who stop by every morning for coffee: Doug Thayer, Rex Strimple, Dan Halcomb, Denny Summers, Gary Comer and some others. Jim says it’s a “huge social thing.” Some of their regulars are there two or three times a day.

“Some people use the Grub like an office,” said Jim. “People sell more here than they do at their own place of business. The public knows certain people are here at the same time every day so they know where they can find them.”

Now, Jim and Marsha are stepping away from the day to day running of the business and their sons Brad and David are becoming more involved. Brad and David say as they move forward, they want to preserve the family feeling the Grub has. And, family is what this restaurant is all about.

It's a family affair at Osgood restaurant
Pictured from left are members of the Bultman family who own and operate the Osgood Grub Co. Restaurant in Osgood: David, parents Jim and Marsha, and Brad Bultman.