When John Mull built his meat rendering plant on Thom Boulevard in 1943, there was no residential community in the neighborhood and certainly no Guy Fieri set to turn a catering company into a nationally famous hole-in-the-wall.
John Mull's Meats & Deer Processing has operated in the same spot and within the same family for 70 years. When UNLV graduate Fieri and his Diners, Drive Ins and Dives crew checked out the onsite Road Kill Grill catering company run by Mull's grandson Chuck Frommer, the celebrity chef suggested they open some form of restaurant. "Competition level meat" was Fieri's assessment of their barbecue skills.
And so the Grub Shak was born, and with it, huge success, but also a round of serious legal paperwork.
When Frommer applied for official approval to run his "Backyard BBQ" take-out creation, 60 years of zoning caught up with him. Approving a new commercial venture in the middle of this residential area was not in the current rulebook. Until the locals spoke up.
At a community meeting and this week's public Planning Commission review, neighbors and even politicians waiting to vote on the motion told stories of how Mull's Meats and the new Grub Shak were an asset to the community and an absolute fixture of the neighborhood. One proponent explained, "It's not Outback, it's not Olive Garden... it fits right into where it is."
Good sense and the clever working of ordinances have found a way to keep the shaded picnic tables and rib tips, brisket, pulled pork and 16-hour smoked hot links from being a bureaucratic casualty.
For now, the Road Kill Grill restaurant will stay as is, still operating from Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. If they wish to expand or change their structures, like the proposed restrooms, they will need to go through public hearings and further approval. But pending final City Council meeting approval in August, Road Kill Grill is set to keep Mull's Meats in business for another 60 years.
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