Rick Grosz knows how to fill both your vehicle’s gas tank and your stomach. Grosz, who has owned West County Phillips 66 for over 30 years, established 3 Bay BBQ & Bakery to provide his customers with more than the usual gas station snacks.
“We never, ever dreamed we would be doing what we’re doing,” Grosz said. Along with his wife Carol and general manager Sandy Rose, he opened what is surely West County’s most unique barbecue operation.
“We started four years ago with the pig trailer that we still use and is parked on our lot. When we closed the auto repair side of the station, we started thinking outside the box and decided to bring the barbecue into the bays – that’s how we got our name,” Grosz said.
Some folks might think a gas station/barbecue shack combo is a culinary odd couple, but it’s not. Hardcore barbecue fans know all about Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, the legendary pit housed in the back of a Shamrock filling station. Such is 3 Bay, which is poised to achieve equal success and star status, for it, too, produces great ‘cue in fun surroundings.
To find 3 Bay, simply circle the station and look for the barbecue tents. This is where you’ll find Grosz and his team tending the pits. Next, follow the smell of sweet smoke and check out the menu options – plenty of custom-rubbed and slow-smoked meats to savor.
Barbecue aficionados won’t be disappointed when they sample 3 Bay’s signature smoked baby back sticky ribs and pulled pork, all smoked with a combination of cherry, apple and hickory woods.
Pork steak enthusiasts are not forgotten, nor are those who crave succulent smoked chicken breast or brisket. The gang’s all here at 3 Bay, and even hamburgers, brats and hot dogs are given a TLC pit treatment.
The same attention is given to its homemade sides, especially the house-fried potato chips [available plain or spicy]. The best bet is to look for the Mac ‘n’ Cheese special, but Grosz said he never knows for sure which day it will appear on the menu. When it does, try some – it has a reputation among 3 Bay’s faithful as the “best ever.”
“This isn’t your backyard barbecue,” said Grosz. “While we keep it simple, we’re taking it to the next level. That’s what made us wonder what we could offer to people that would enhance the barbecue and bring them in. So we started the bakery.”
Carol bakes an impressive selection of bars and cakes on-site, with help from Rose.
“We do our own take on gooey butter,” Rose said, who reports that the calories have been taken out of all the sweet treats. “We have the St. Louis classic gooey butter, along with a chocolate and a brownie gooey butter. We bake other things, like the PB&J bar, brookies [chocolate chip cookie with a brownie on top] and our magic bars, which are a mix of everything.”
Customers most often order take-out to carry home or back to the office. If time permits, however, dine in and experience the atmosphere of 3 Bay’s newly air-conditioned dining room – the former repair bays, now decked out with picnic tables.
For now, 3 Bay BBQ & Bakery is only open for lunch, Wednesday through Friday. Arrive early – latecomers may be disappointed when popular items disappear.
Grosz said plans are in the works for expanded hours and days of service.
“We’ve become a destination,” he said.
14195 Clayton Road • Town & Country [located inside West County Phillips 66]
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
www.3baybbqandbakery.com • (636) 227-1208