The former Niko’s Gyros building, located at 505 W. Main St. in Gas City, is now home to Pappies Smokehouse & Lunch Box.
Beginning today, Pappies will offer drive-thru and pick-up services at their new location from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We’re ready to feed you,” said AJ Simmons, the owner of Pappies.
AJ said this location was perfect for Pappies because of the traffic, the amount of space and the structure of the building.
“We love this location,” AJ said. “It’s been a project. The bones are here. It just needs a lot of work.”
The Simmons family has lived in Marion for years but found that Gas City was the best place for their first brick and mortar location.
“Gas City was our biggest following. People in Gas City really accepted us and (the former owner) too,” AJ said.
AJ’s father, Joel Simmons, said he is excited and nervous about the new building.
“It’s just a new adventure with a lot of risk,” Joel said. “We have a lot of new things in line. Starting slow and working our way up.”
The Simmons family is hoping to expand the menu and open a sit-down restaurant at the location in May.
“We want to introduce family platters,” AJ said. “So the whole family can sit down and eat a family meal here and be affordable and enjoyable. We’ll do the clean up, you have the family meal.”
The concept for the restaurant is “Pappie’s workshop turned into a diner,” AJ said.
“So it’s going to be kind of eclectic,” AJ said. “This will be a fun place to come and eat.”
Family has always been the center of Pappies Smokehouse, AJ said.
The Simmons family bought the Pappies food truck a year ago from Brian Mauller, who started the business four years prior.
Mauller’s granddaughter called him “Pappie,” and he called her “Lil Bit,” inspiring the business’s slogan, “Lil bit of this, lil bit of that.”
The menu items were Mauller’s granddaughter’s favorite foods, AJ said, and Mauller always cooked for his family.
When AJ saw Mauller put the truck up for sale, he knew he had to buy it.
“I liked the food so much I didn’t want to see it go away,” AJ said. “He had a great following, and everybody loved his food, including me.”
AJ decided to keep the same name and menu that Mauller had for many years.
A year after the Simmons family purchased the truck, family is still at the center of Pappies Smokehouse.
“Pappie is now my dad, and he does the same thing,” AJ said. “He was always the one who cooked all the food. It was a perfect fit for him.”
Since buying the truck, AJ said the production has quadrupled because of the time they were able to put into it.
“Our community is what’s made Pappies,” AJ said. “I’ve had people run up and hug the truck, they love it so much.”
Pappies makes mostly homemade food from scratch.
“The people that make (the food), they do it because they like it,” AJ said. “We try to pay them well and are not trying to make $1 million here, just make people happy.”
Joel said he is pleased and excited about what the new space will turn into.
“This will hopefully be the go-to place for smoked meat and family dining,” Joel said. “We hope it turns into something that lasts a long time and becomes a staple for the area.”
For more information, visit Pappies Smokehouse & Lunch Box on Facebook.