The iconic Box Car BBQ building along Route 66, might soon become a medical marijuana dispensary, if the application for a Special Use Permit (SUP) passes the City Council in the October 5th meeting.
At Tuesday’s Sapulpa Planning Commission meeting, the yellow-brown building that for years served some of the best barbecue in town was one of three locations before the committee for SUPs.
Lance Groenewold, the son of the famed pitmaster George Groenewold, has held the building since the restaurant closed, renovating the interior and running his digital marketing business out of it ever since. Groenewold said the idea of putting a dispensary inside was partly one of opportunity, but also something closer to home; his father died of prostate cancer about two-and-a-half years ago, and “by the end of his life, the opiates weren’t helping,” Groenewold said, hinting at the reasoning behind the dispensary to keep others from suffering the way his father had.
Groenewold grew up in Sapulpa and moved away in 1995. He moved back in 2014, and in 2017, bought the building from his father’s estate after he had passed. Though Box Car had by then been closed for a number of years, it was still a fan favorite for some. Groenewold recalled a time after he had moved back in and was working on his digital marketing business that an old customer of George’s pulled into the parking lot and “laid on the horn.” Turns out, she was there to place an order.
In his application for the SUP, the City says Groenwold wants to turn the exterior of the building into a facade of 1950s era gas station (what the building actually was in the 1950s) in order for it to be “cohesive with Route 66” and the nearby Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum with the gas pump. Groenewold confirmed that he would be painting a Route 66 shield on the side of the building.
Groenewold’s SUP application was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting and will go before the City Council for final approval.
The other locations also approved for SUPs were a grow facility to be located at 14517 W. Highway 66 and grow and processing facility to be located at 5641 South 59th West Avenue.