Metro-East News

With Fischer’s closing, groups will have to search for new place to meet, hold events

John Lengerman, former executive director of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, greets Senior Airman Emily Mormino of the 932nd A.E.S. at Scott Air Force Base at the 61st annual Belle-Scott Dinner at Fischer’s in Belleville in 2011.
John Lengerman, former executive director of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, greets Senior Airman Emily Mormino of the 932nd A.E.S. at Scott Air Force Base at the 61st annual Belle-Scott Dinner at Fischer’s in Belleville in 2011.

Fischer’s Restaurant, a popular meeting place for some local organizations, is set to close in February. The announcement made by the family-owned establishment Thursday has left some groups wondering where they’ll go next to hold events and meetings.

Organizations that hold meetings and events at Fischer’s include the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, Belle-Scott Committee and Rotary Club of Belleville. Leaders of those groups said Friday they’re not sure what their next move will be, but they’re already discussing possible new venues.

Wendy Pfeil, executive director, said the Chamber has had a longstanding relationship with Fischer’s. The restaurant is where the organization typically holds its annual dinner, which is scheduled for Jan. 26.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” Pfeil said of Fischer’s. “We’re going to have to make some changes already this year. ... We’re disappointed that they’re leaving, but we understand if the family is ready to move on.”

Pfeil said the Chamber was not yet ready to comment on its plans for upcoming events that were supposed to be held at the restaurant.

The Belle-Scott Committee usually holds its annual Enlisted Dinner event at Fischer’s. Jay Tebbe, civilian chair of the committee, said he wasn’t sure yet how the closing would affect future events. Tebbe is also the publisher of the Belleville News-Democrat.

Members of the Rotary Club of Belleville meet at the restaurant on a weekly basis. Club president, William Shannon IV, said Rotarians have been meeting there since the 1970s. Their previous meeting location was at Augustine’s Restaurant.

Shannon said the Rotary Club has not reached a decision on where it will go next, but said it should be at least “somewhere in town.” He said members and the club’s district will be kept informed about its next move.

“It’ll be a big change for us, but our board of directors are actively discussing where we might move our meetings,” Shannon said.

The Rotary Club’s events held at Fischer’s include the annual All-City Football Banquet.

Fischer’s often serves as the site for large civic events, such as the Belleville’s Bicentennial Gala in 2014. Belleville’s annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast also is held at Fischer’s.

A spokesman for Lindenwood University-Belleville declined to comment Friday on whether the university was interested in acquiring the property.

The university owns several properties nearby, including student housing that was once a hotel located next to Fischer’s.

Fischer’s Restaurant said its last day open would be Feb. 15.

Co-owners Annette Allan and Kathy Bingheim, who are sisters, told the Belleville News-Democrat that they planed to sell the building. The family has owned the property at 2100 W. Main St. since 1941.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 618-239-2526, @kaitlynschwers

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