Grumpy’s Grill and Pub is now open, featuring a small menu of comfort foods with a local flare. It has a sports bar atmosphere geared toward a family dining experience.
Connie Bitner grew up and graduated from high school here in De Smet.
Shawn Jenkins grew up in the south but his family moved to De Smet in 1983 his senior year.
Jenkins, with his Southern charm and accent was the new kid at school. He ended up asking Bitner to the senior prom. Bitner says it took her mom and aunt to talk her into going with Jenkins.
Shortly afterwards, they ended up going their separate ways. Bitner went to the University of North Dakota for a year and then Huron Business College. She then worked as a bank teller in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
Jenkins joined the Air Force right out of school and gave them 34 years of service. He worked on avionics with many different types of aircraft.
He was stationed at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana. Jenkins said he enjoyed his many trips and deployments. He retired in September as a master sergeant.
Each had a family to take care of. “You go through good times and bad times. The bad times help structure you as a person,” Bitner said,
In 2012 they became Facebook friends and said it was good to catch up on old schoolmates and see how life was treating them. They continued to check on each other every once in a while.
In 2016 Jenkins was no longer married and had a daughter that was graduating. That summer the online relationship grew and in September 2016 Bitner went to Indiana to visit Jenkins.
“We hit it off,” Bitner said. They spent the next year and a half in a long-distance relationship.
With Jenkins retirement coming up, they were doing research and trying to choose a new career path for them both in a new location.
They decided on De Smet. Bitner could be close to family and Jenkins enjoyed the small-town atmosphere.
In September of this year, Jenkins retired and they moved back to De Smet. They bought a house and the 3rd St. Bar and Grill as a package deal. They even got Jim and Steve Siver to help them with the remodeling.
They spent some long days in September working and getting everything ready.
The dream of Grumpy’s Grill and Pub became a reality.
Where did the name come from? Jenkins said he had shared his plans with some of the airmen he was training. He didn’t like training and would rather be working himself.
As he sat there at his desk supervising the airmen he was training, one told him he should call the place Grumpy because Jenkins was an old grumpy….
When Bitner heard the story, the name stuck.
Posted on 10-12-2018
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