A Man Cave for All: Ed Foral’s Grilling & Gameday GarageSep 30, 2020 12:11PM ● By Houston Wiltsey
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
The taxidermies on the wall include deer heads, ducks, a beaver pelt, and a 71-pound catfish that Foral said was caught in the lake that the property overlooks—the one his wife will now no longer swim in for fear of such monstrous creatures.
The phrase “man cave” invokes different scenes for people. One person might envision a room dedicated to a bygone era of bachelordom, while another sees a dark basement with a big-screen TV surrounded by overstuffed recliners and a fold-out poker table. Still others might imagine a garage decked out with NASCAR memorabilia and a makeshift bar.
In most cases, the images conjured are generally ones of male isolation—a place one can escape from the world and maybe watch sports or play pool with “the guys.”
What makes Ed Foral’s variation of the man cave so refreshing is that he uses his to bring together family and friends rather than distance himself from them.
“We had a family reunion in here a couple of years ago and were able to pack in roughly 60 people,” Foral said. “We just set up the foldout tables and we’re pretty much ready to tackle any party.”
He’s not exaggerating. The detached garage next to his home in Springfield, Nebraska, is roughly the size of a small home and houses many of the furnishings and accessories that are normally found in a man cave and then some—a massive television, taxidermy mounts of animals covering the walls, a pair of all-terrain vehicles, and a fully stocked workbench in the far corner. There’s also a long wooden bar that seats 6-plus and a refrigerator that’s dedicated almost exclusively to the storage of beer and the meat of the aforementioned game animals.
To cook the copious amount of meat that Foral normally has stored, he decided a Weber charcoal or flat top grill would be insufficient. Instead, in the opposite corner of the room sits a setup that rivals most fast-food restaurants and contains a commercial smoker, fryer, and char-broiler with an industrial-sized vent hanging overhead.
“We’re constantly cooking for everybody with this setup,” Foral said. “We do ribs, brisket, and fish fries. In fact, just last night I smoked 80 pounds of pork butt for my granddaughter’s graduation party.”
The now-retired Foral, a 46-year veteran of the general contracting business, oversaw the building project and renovations himself, which began two years after the main house was completed.
It’s taken much longer to put together the man cave decor, which continues to evolve.
The taxidermies on the wall include deer heads, ducks, a beaver pelt, and a 71-pound catfish that Foral said was caught in the lake that the property overlooks—the lake his wife will now no longer swim in for fear of such monstrous creatures.
He also made sure to include more personal items. Decades’ worth of pictures from all manner of hunting and fishing trips adorn the walls of both the garage and its bathroom. An avid Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, Foral also displays a good chunk of Big Red memorabilia, including a football signed by members of the 2008 Gator Bowl-winning squad.
Though he remembers that Husker team fondly, the ball is of greater significance to Foral.
“It reminds me of Brook Berringer,” he said, referring to the former Nebraska quarterback who played for the Huskers is the mid-’90s. “He used to come up, hang out on the lake with us, and water ski,” he continued with just the faintest hint of melancholy and a smile. Berringer lost his life in a plane crash in 1996.
That’s what makes Foral’s man cave so special…It hits the sweet spot between being the perfect place to do “man stuff” and to reminisce and make memories with the people he loves.
This article was printed in the October 2020 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.