Durand, MI served as the main crossroads for the train in the years before our highway system. Historical landmarks populate the town, reminding us of an era gone by when freight and people moved more by rail than by car.
Union Station itself is carved out of an old garage. Lots of authentic signs and collectibles dot the walls (watch for American Pickers to come calling). Camden and I are parked next to an open garage door overlooking Durand’s train station. To add to the feel are the blues playing their way all through the dining room. Later tonight this place will be the hangout for this sleepy town I’m sure.
Emily is our server tonight. She asked simply, “So I get to pick? This will be fun.” So fun it is as she brings us dinner.
Emily pulled out all the stops bringing us everything at once so we could eat family style. I’m feeling stuffed again just thinking about it.
Pulled pork nachos was one of the dishes. Union Station smokes its own meat and this nacho is bathed in four different types of melted cheddar cheese. Yum… a meal in itself.
Emily served also served us chicken wings with a special sauce. I think I’m learning my lesson about menus understating what they offer. On this menu, these wings are just listed as “Smoked Wings”. These are NOT just Smoked Wings. These wings are things of beauty. You can taste the smokey accents just over the perfectly cooked wings. I couldn’t put my finger on the rub, but suffice it to say that the wings can stand (or should I say fly) on their own. And then we add the sauce. Sweet, almost teriyaki-tasting, but the secret ingredient is an eel sauce. Just perfect!
The final dish is called the Switch Man. This is their compilation dish which features ribs (the oh man, fall-off-the-bone kind of ribs), pulled pork, and a beef brisket. And what BBQ compilation would be complete without the side dishes? None!
As if I have to ask…
Emily was kind enough to bring us four samples to try. Homemade coleslaw, an absolute must have at a BBQ. Their very own homemade Mac N Cheese which was smooth and subtle in taste; not too sharp and comfortable enough to feel like I was at home. Pork N Beans which featured their pulled pork – sweet and excellent. And a corn bake that was just off the chain. It was not like a punch in the face good, but like a really comfortable quilt that enveloped you and took you to a much simpler time. Sweet, savory, and homey all at once. Food of love for sure.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the meats 😉 I meant what I said about the fall off the bone ribs. Gravity had more of a hold on the meat than I was able to muster when I grabbed my first bone. I prevailed though as I took my first bite of meat that had been smoked to perfection. The pulled pork still remained excellent. And the beef brisket, well, it was fork tender and yummy.
Union Station is a family owned place and Emily is one of the daughters. And let me say this family knows how to smoke. Wow! But then, just like on your favorite game show, we have to say that “There’s more!” This family knows how to bake too!
For dessert, Emily brought us homemade strawberry sheet cake with ice cream on the side. The cake itself is a variation of Emily’s Mom’s chocolate cake. Topped with obviously homemade frosting. It is one of those desserts where you should only have a bite or two, but you can’t help yourself and you end up finishing the whole thing. At least Camden was there to help me so I don’t feel quite so guilty.
So while Durand is probably not on anyone’s radar as a food destination, if you happen to find yourself somewhere between Flint and Lansing, don’t let Durand pass you by. Stop in and see what kind of a gem Union Station is to the folks in the area and enjoy listening to the train horns sing out to you from their distant past and imagine what it must have been like while you enjoy some succulent BBQ – Michigan Style.