RIPLEY - When experience, skill and determination come together as one, good things happen. Toss in a sprinkle of planning, a dash of pure will and a heaping helping of family love and you have one delicious serving of Granny's Grill.

The grill is owned by identical twins Amanda Barksdale and Amy Barksdale 26, originally from Chester County Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia where the population is nearly 500,000.
"Before coming to Ripley in early summer, we were living near Johnson City Tennessee and that was a bit of a culture shock for us. We like West Virginia and really appreciate what Ripley has to offer," said Amanda.
It isn't that Amanda and Amy had no connection to the area. Their cousin Sherry Lafferty has been a Ripley resident for eight years after relocating here from the Philadelphia area. Lafferty ran a popular grill for many years in Philly called Pop's Grill.

"We actually have relatives in the Racine area of Boone County. We have West Virginia roots," said Lafferty.
Amanda and Amy's Mother, Dema DiPalma is an accomplished cook and saw that her daughters had inherited that same talent. DiPalma decided to help the young ladies open Granny's Grill. She also has contributed an active hand in everyday operations.

The spot chosen at 502 Church Street was formerly Lucky Dogs, a small diner that centered around hot dogs and burgers.

An overhaul was in order as there were some fundamental changes needed to the interior. After weeks of elbow grease and determination, Granny's Grill opened the doors for business on November 5.

"We had to purchase steam tables, silverware and dishes immediately," said Amy.

"The small items really add up fast when opening a business."

With absolutely zero advertising, the business has taken off strictly on word of mouth, which serves as a tribute to the small business.

"We will begin advertising in the coming months," said Amy.

Amy serves as the primary cook and Amanda handles the front and serving responsibilities. Lafferty contributes desserts like her homemade pies that she churns out daily.

"Our goal coming in was to provide great service and fresh food made from scratch on a daily basis," said Amanda.

If you ask the locals what they think of the new addition to Ripley's cuisine scene, you will hear about how generous the portions are, how fresh the food is and that the chipped beef gravy and chicken cheese steak sandwiches are to die for.
The process has had its surprises along the way in terms of what locals have asked for.

"I think the biggest shocker was the first time that someone asked for a peanut butter sandwich with their chili. Now, people ask for it all the time and we are used to it," said Amanda, laughing.

While the dining area is much more spacious than it looks from the outside, the overall layout of the kitchen area has been a challenge but has been made functional.

The building is equipped with a drive thru window but is used sparingly.

"We have customers that will order by phone and come to the drive thru window to pay for their food. We have no problem doing that but we do not accept orders through the window, simply because we aren't staffed or set up to handle that."

It should also be noted that freshly prepared food takes time to produce and doesn't lend itself to the "on demand" notions of drive thru food.

Amy and Amanda have special inspiration t make their new business successful. The twins have daughters very close in age (around 18 months).

"Arianna (Amy) and Brianna (Amanda) inspire us to be successful every day. We want to build something for them," said Amy.

For now, the business is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed on Monday.

Granny's Grill looks to extend their hours into the evenings in the near future.

"Once we are able to hire some evening shift employees, we definitely will extend our hours as Amy and I will serve as supervisors on each shift," said Amanda.

The restaurant has marked off wall space that is going to be dedicated to anyone who has ever served in any branch of the military in any era.

"We encourage our customers to donate photos for our Hometown Heroes wall," said Amy.

Making strong connections within the community is part of a successful formula for any small business. Now, pass the peanut butter before the chili cools off.