Jen’s Pit Stop off to fast start

Jen’s Pit Stop off to fast start
Jen's Pit Stop

Now open for the 15th consecutive season, Jen’s Pit Stop in Middle Granville has its engines, grill and friers revved up and is flying into the new season with fast-paced business.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Vanderminden. Jennifer Vanderminden

Owner Jennifer Vanderminden said ever since the season began on April 23, customers from in and out of the village of Granville have created a positive energy and start to the weather-permitting, five-and-a-half-month period of being open.

One of the major draws for Vanderminden is the unique location her establishment is plotted. Built by her father and mapped at 39 State Route 22A, the pit stop serves food and desserts for travelers going to-and-from the state of Vermont, as well as through the town and village of Granville in any direction.

“The advantage to being on the outside (of the village) is being able to have a bigger spot where kids can play, the parking lot is big for places to park, it really doesn’t affect me at all not being in the village,” Vanderminden said. “We get a lot of travelers on the weekend, but I do have a lot of loyal customers.”

Town supervisor Matt Hicks had nothing but high praise for Vanderminden and her staff when asked about the impact of Jen’s Pit Stop over the last decade-and-a-half.

A sign on the patio of Jen’s Pit Stop.

“It’s a great place, it’s good food,” Hicks said. “Their fresh-beef hamburgers are just of this world. They seem to bring in a lot of people from out of the area.”

Vanderminden added it’s been an all hands-on-deck mentality for the past two weeks, whether it’s her family chipping in with their spare time or her dedicated employees giving it their all to make the turns on the “race course” of the business as crisp and easy as possible.

“It can’t happen without them,” Vanderminden said. “We’re not perfect, but we try our hardest to make things run smoothly and I’ll be the first one to admit when there’s a mistake. I’m happy to make that up to them.”

COVID-19 took a small hit on the car-hop and window-service food stop, ultimately delaying the start of the 2020 season. Vanderminden said she and her staff were able to find ways to overcome the adversity many businesses and restaurants were forced to face with the global pandemic.

One of those alterations was focusing more on car-hop service rather than coming to the window to order and retrieve the food. This has carried over into 2021 as a viable option of receiving orders placed.

“We opened about three weeks later than normal, but business-wise, it was a great year,” Vanderminden said. “It was a whole new way of operating.”

At the end of the day, Vanderminden credits the support from the community as the driving factor keeping her business running full-speed for every lap it takes.

“The business just gets better and better every year,” she said. “If you don’t get the support, the business isn’t gonna make it.”