HARLINGEN — An old fire station might not sound like the optimal option for a bar to everyone, but for Grace and George Seikaly it was perfect.
The couple moved from San Diego in the early 1990s. Grace had given the service business a shot opening a restaurant in 1998, but said it was not the right timing.
However, she said it was finally time to start again. Station One Bar and Grill opened up its doors in August.
“I had always wanted a restaurant. I love to cook and I used to do catering for weddings. This was a perfect idea,” she said.
The couple have a daughter and a son in their mid-30s. Their daughter lives in Austin, which makes George and Grace do several trips. So, they began to explore and get ideas for what they wanted their new business to be.
“We wanted to do something different in Harlingen, not the typical restaurant, something with a twist,” George said.
Created on an old fire station built in the 1950s only adds a touch of uniqueness to the business. It now has a patio with games, such as bean bag toss and Connect Four for people to enjoy.
The bar has a ladder to simulate the old fire station and in the back there are sofas positioned for a more relaxing atmosphere.
The menu is also parallel to the original setting. Grace was born in Israel and wanted to incorporate some of her influence as well as join forces with head chef Paul O’Connell.
“When they offered me this opportunity I visited Grace in her house and she showed me how she did several home dishes,” O’Connell said.
“I knew I was going to be able to explore but also add a flare to comfort
food we already know,” he said.
The bar is popular for its mixed drinks that are formulated with fresh juice every day by Christian Corbeil, an experienced bartender from McAllen.
George and Grace are new to the business community but said they are excited to be a part of it and begin the journey.
“We love to serve our community. We have had firefighters that used to work here visit and it’s exciting to see that,” Grace said.
The staff agrees that the couple has brought to Harlingen a concept that had not been done before.
“This is exactly what Harlingen needed. People should not open a restaurant to become rich,” Corbeil said. “It should be because you want to. They are doing it for the correct reasons.”