"What's your column about?" someone asked, as editors always do.
"Fischer's Restaurant isn't closing," I said.
"No, duh," was the reply.
I see his point. Something not closing might not seem like news, but in this case, it is since pervasive rumors in the community keep insisting the restaurant is on the ropes.
"It seems like half the world thinks we've sold out to Lindenwood (University-Belleville,)" said Ken Fischer, 81, the owner. "Even my friends are asking when they are taking over."
Like most rumors, there is just enough of an underlying reason to give it credibility. The university has purchased the motel next door to the restaurant that once was owned by Ken's brother. The university also has bought a lot of property surrounding the campus just down the street. They may buy more.
But Fischer's is not for sale and isn't closing, Ken said.
Here's his complaint about the rumors.
"We're missing a lot of banquets we used to get," he said. "I guess people think since we've been sold they had better go somewhere else."
Restaurant general manager Corea Buck said there seems to be a lot of confusion.
"It's hurting future business," she said. "Even people who call and book their events are saying they heard rumors we were closing."
Ken said he can understand people wondering.
"My health isn't the best, but my family is carrying on," he said.
That is a family tradition. He started working for his dad at age 13.
Two daughters, Annette Fischer and Kathy Bingheim, have taken over management of Fischer's. Some of his grandchildren work there part-time.
The restaurant can trace its roots back to A.C. Fischer, Ken's dad, who started a dairy store in the 300 block of West Main Street in 1935. Eventually the store became a drive-in restaurant at 2100 W. Main St. and expanded to become the Dutch Girl and then Fischer's.
With continuing changes, remodeling and building, the restaurant will be around for a long time, Ken said.
He can't help but tout the place.
"We have seven different size meeting rooms," he said. "We can accommodate from 35 to 750 or 800 people. Fischer's is still alive."
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