Better With Age

Pat Broecker, Paula Bertolotti from Connecticut, and Penn Broecker in front of Wallace Station

By Carla Sue Broecker

WALLACE STATION

If you haven’t been to Wallace Station you have missed a meal to die for! 

We had a guest from New York and our cousins Penn and Pat Broecker took us out for lunch. They said it was an unusual place, off the beaten path and had great food. Sounded good to us!

We got off the expressway and took the Old Frankfort Pike towards Versailles in Woodford County, in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass horse country. We went to Wallace Station that is on the National Register of Historic Places as a surviving example of a small railroad community.

It was the first town in Kentucky established by a railroad and founded along an east-west railroad line in the 1830s. It continues to exist as an R.J. Corman Railroad track that still passes thru downtown. The current building was built at the turn of the 20th century by the McKinivan family. The McKinivans lived upstairs (now office space) and operated a store downstairs.

The store and gas station sold feed, machinery, fencing and other farming necessities, as well as consumer goods such as fabric and groceries. At one time, the building also served as a post office.

Dr. Thomas D. Clark, the late Kentucky historian, said that the former child bride of emancipationist and politician Cassius Clay, Dora Brock, who lived on the adjacent farm was laid out in the store when she died in 1914.  Clay, whom she had divorced a few years after their marriage in the 1890s, had bought her a little house on the farm, where she died in poverty.

The country store operated until it was purchased by Larry Taylor around 2001. Chris and Ouita Michel opened Wallace Station Deli and Bakery there in 2003, where it continues to serve delicious food with great service and hospitality.

It doesn’t look like much but it is worth the drive up there. We got there early and there was already a line. I grabbed a table and the others got in line to order and pay for lunch. It took me back to my childhood and the grocery/saloon at Springdale on Brownsboro Road.

Host Ron McMakin and his sister in law Beverly, her husband Billy, Brad Broecker, Carol Osborne, Jan Corum and the birthday boy Dan Schusterman.

The fried sweet banana pepper rings, the artichoke fritters with smoked tomato ranch and the Bourbon trail Chili Nachos were to die for! Try the Whitesburg Soup Beans n’ Cornbread! Go early! There is always a line out the door.

It is even better than White Castle and that is a lot coming from me!

Chef Ouita Michel not only operates Wallace Station, but also has Holly Hill Inn; Windy Corner; Midway Bakery; Smithtown; and Woodford Reserve Glenn’s Creek Café.

BIRTHDAY BOY

“Cousin Ron” McMakin hosted a 88th birthday dinner for “Cousin Dan” Schusterman last week at his charming home in Surrey Place off Massie Avenue. The two men are what I call “Kissin’ Cousins”. Ron was the favorite cousin of  Dan’s late wife Sug (or Lee). Both of the cousins were reared in the close knit community of LaGrange.

Ron, a retired banker, has turned into a marvelous cook in his leisure time. He loves to entertain friends and family at his beautiful townhouse that is filled with generations of family antiques. An invitation to dinner there is always eagerly looked forward to.

In his “salad days,” before he retired from banking and raising a puppy, he would travel with us. One wonderful holiday was a winter trip to Switzerland with Joann Gammon along for the fun. The snow was deep and it was spectacular. We were very happy to be “on lookers” and not make fools of ourselves on the slopes! Instead, we took the train through the mountains and fell in love with the small villages.

Now that his puppy is a large full-grown dog, Ron doesn’t travel much. That is great for his friends and family as he has taken up cooking and entertaining as a full time hobby. VT