By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. — People will be filling up at The Station in Lapel this Saturday, but it won’t be gas tanks they’ll be topping off – it will be their tummies.
The Station’s owner Scott Hersberger is offering open dining at his unique catering/event establishment starting at noon Saturday, during Lapel’s Village Fair.
The garage bay doors, stacks of tires, and automobilia of the building’s past history as a filling station are all still there, but the whole place now has the shine and ambience of a thoughtfully upscale eatery. The dining public can enjoy a full course meal either out underneath an umbrella on the patio, or inside where petroleum memorabilia rules the day. And Hersberger’s got the menu to fill the bill.
“I have loved to cook for years,” said Hersberger. His culinary creativity came by way of his grandmother, Mary Behrens. “She loved to cook. I watched her, growing up.” Hersberger communicates a true delight in the creative outlet that The Station affords him.
Hersberger said his ribs are among The Station’s most popular offerings. “I smoke them in applewood, then slow cook them with barbecue sauce – nice and tender,” said Hersberger. “It’s a sweet sauce, not too hot.”
Those ribs are one of four entrees, that Hersberger will be cooking up this weekend. Diners can choose from the ribs, Reuben panini sandwich, chopped chef’s salad, or made-to-order fried chicken. Along with the entrée, diners have a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, or chips. The meal comes with a beverage as well, and the whole package is only $10.
The Station is situated directly adjacent to the funeral home Hersberge has owned and operated on Main Street for 29 years. He purchased the old filling station in 1999, and it’s become his culinary creative base in the last few years. Hersberger converted the place into its new use in late 2010.
The facility reflects the great care and creative attention to detail to make the place both a comfortable dining experience, as well as capitalizing on the funky appeal of the venue. Hersberger said he thinks the building was probably built in the 50’s, but the place manages to feel fresh and inviting.
Hersberger hosts and caters all kinds of events at the Station, including wedding rehearsals, showers, banquets, funeral meals and more. The Lapel High School’s Class of 2003 has reserved The Station for their reunion get-together Saturday night.
There’s more on the horizon for The Station. Hersberger’s oldest son, Nick, already with a degree from Indiana University under his belt, is currently in culinary school. “He likes to cook. He kind of followed in my footsteps,” said Hersberger.
After Nick finishes up his culinary studies, the family is hoping to open The Station Tuesday through Saturday evenings. That’s likely to be next spring.
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Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing A favorite from Hersberger's repertoire -- one of his grandmother's recipes. Ingredients: ¾ cup cake flour ¼ cup cocoa 1 ½ cups sugar 12 egg whites (room temperature) 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar ¼ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla Combine cake flour, cocoa, and ¾ cup sugar in sifter and sift together 5 times. Combines egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until frothy. Add remaining sugar (3/4 cup) 1 tablespoon at a time between beating. Beat to soft peaks. Fold in sifted mixture and pour into angel food cake pan. Cut through batter with a knife to eliminate air pockets and knock the pan on the counter 2 or 3 times. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, invert and cool. Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing Ingredients: Heaping ½ cup powdered sugar ¼ cup cocoa Splash vanilla 1 pint heavy (whipping) cream Combine ingredients in mixing bowl and whip to stiff consistency. Cut the cake in half from side to side and spread icing over middle. Replace top and ice the rest of the cake. Shave chocolate on the top for garnish.