Whatever happened to Box Car BBQ?

We caught up with the son of the man who started the joint that became synonymous with mouth-watering BBQ.

Aren’t we all curious about the fate of the Box Car BBQ building on Route 66, west of town? One day last week, Sapulpa Times visited the locked building. A lovely woman led this reporter to Lance Groenewold, who is George Groenewold’s son. The building’s interior had been completely remodeled and painted white. It is now a modern and functional office space. Lance, who shares his dad’s height, build, and people-first attitude welcomed interest in his father’s legacy, his building, and the BBQ business.

Lance grew up around Sapulpa and moved away in 1995. He bought a marketing business and moved back to Sapulpa in 2014, when George got sick.

“When he passed (April 2017), I bought the property from his estate and moved back,” he said. The business, Next Level Marketing Group, is a national referral marketing company for after-sale marketing to clients of realtors, insurance sales, mortgage bankers, and others. It is the personal touch that keeps contact with old customers for potential new business. This is not a business with walk-in traffic.

The building now has 1,500 square feet of usable office and storage space, about twice the space George used for his business. Lance has 4 full-time employees and 6 outsourced employees who do accounting, data research, and IT.

Inside the front office, the old smoker rests in the corner, silent and scentless, “in homage” to Lance’s Dad. A huge chunk of the old lobby wall with scribblings from all over the country, is waiting to be hung in the lobby of the new offices.

Lance sold a lot of the restaurant business equipment to a new prize-winning BBQ place in Sapulpa—BossHawg Bar-B-Que on Taft.

Since he has been in the location where he spent many after-school hours working alongside George, he has had one customer, who sat out in her van and “laid on the horn!” Finally, Lance went outside, and the irate woman said she was there to “place an order!” He happily explained that he kept the old signage on the exterior of the building in memory of his Dad.

Lance lives in Tulsa with his wife, Beth, and their two-year-old daughter, London. He is happy to be back home. Although Lance could reopen the old BBQ restaurant and has all of George’s old recipes tucked away in his head, he has no desire to do that right now. He is happy with his new business, in his old haunts.

About the Author

Lottie Wilds is a native Oklahoman and a multi-talented woman—she is a mother, grandmother, Navy veteran, and lifelong creator. Lottie loves to quilt, decorate, garden, swim, paint, and write stories. She is grateful for every day she gets a chance to get it right.

  • Avatar Amy Fulks says:

    What a lovely memorial to his Dad. I hope someday he either opens a restaurant or passes those recipes down! I certainly miss that great food!

  • Avatar Chris says:

    ❤️❤️❤️

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