Parked just over the county line north of Peekskill, about a quarter-mile past Annsville Circle, to be exact, most people who discover The Bus Stop Grill are early morning and lunchtime commuters — fitting, as that’s not only the grill’s target demographic, but also its former cargo.
Once a full-scale passenger bus, the monster machine was the perfect vehicle (sorry, pun intentional) for Hudson Valley Bus Co. owner Ernie Knippenberg, 79, to open the food truck business he’d always dreamed about.
“It was something I had wanted to do for awhile, so what better time to build the truck than when regular business slowed down during the pandemic? And once it was ready, I wanted to open it,” says Knippenberg. “Since it was a family effort it made the process that much easier. Sure, it was a bit stressful, but I think it was well worth it.”
Rather than just throw a flat-top grill in the back, however, Knippenberg spent the pandemic totally customizing his project, cramming in not just a full-sized kitchen and washroom, but a full-size refrigerator, drink cases, coffee station, snacks and desserts, a service counter, and — get ready for this — indoor seating for up to four.
The “rolling diner,” as they put it, is a true family operation. Daughter Heidi Bennet, grandson Robert, and granddaughter-in-law Anne-Marie all pitch in, turning out burgers, hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches, mac and cheese, chicken cutlets, and more for hungry visitors six days a week. Specials so far have included pulled pork, family-recipe chilidogs, sausage and peppers, and others more typical of an old-school deli than a roadside sandwich cart.
The hottest sellers, though, are the corned beef and pastrami. The Grill serves up the quintessential Jewish deli favorites — either on rye with mustard or adding sauerkraut and Swiss for the classic Reuben — almost as fast as customers devour them.
The Bust Stop Grill is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday parked at the Stone House in Garrison, and is also available to book for private events.
The Bus Stop Grill
1111 Route 9, Garrison