Metro-East News

Fischer’s Restaurant draws $800k offer from mystery bidder

A farewell to Fischer’s Restaurant

After more than 80 years, Fischer's Restaurant is closing. Hear from customers on the iconic restaurant's last day of operations Wednesday in Belleville, IL.
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After more than 80 years, Fischer's Restaurant is closing. Hear from customers on the iconic restaurant's last day of operations Wednesday in Belleville, IL.

A mystery bidder offered the top bid of $800,000 at a subdued auction Thursday for the iconic Fischer’s Restaurant in Belleville.

The restaurant at 2100 W. Main St. was offered for sale at auction nearly two months after the family that owns the property announced it would close the restaurant. Family members said they would take a few days to decide whether to accept the bid.

The identity of the top bidder wasn’t immediately clear. Auctioneer Terry “Bones” Allan, of Allan Auction Service, declined to reveal the identity of the bidder, whose bid was submitted by phone. Allan said the bidder visited the restaurant earlier in the day.

Friends and family of co-owners Kathy Bingheim and Annette Allan, daughters of founder Kenny Fischer, gathered in one of the restaurant’s dining rooms to support the sisters and watch the bidding process. The audience, including any potential bidders, remained hushed during the brief auction that lasted less than 10 minutes.

Bingheim and Allan said they would take a few days to consider the offer. They have the final decision on whether to accept or refuse the offer.

“We’re still not sure,” said Bingheim. “I’m still a little flustered.”

Lindenwood University-Belleville President Brett Barger attended the auction, but did not offer a bid on behalf of the university, whose campus neighbors the restaurant.

“There was a possibility. We definitely wanted to see what was happening,” Barger said, but the price tag was ultimately out of the university’s price range.

Ultimately, the mystery bidder placed the only bid — the one for $800,000.

“We’d always ask for more,” Annette Allan said. “But it is what it is.”

The auction began with the auctioneer trying to get a bid of $1.5 million for the three acres of property, including the building that takes up about two-thirds of an acre, plus most of the contents. The only items not included in the price are a safe, a large table, a cooler, some carts and any food or liquor.

The 30,000-square-foot restaurant and banquet center is on about 3 acres and has 258 feet of frontage on West Main Street.

“This is a turn-key restaurant and banquet center that has tons of potential,” is how the auction company described Fischer’s. The auctioneer thanked the Fischer family before the auction began.

“I’d like to thank the family for having us here today. This has to be traumatic for them, I’m sure,” Terry Allan said.

Fischer’s closed on Feb. 15. Annette Allan and Bingheim, the sisters who owned the restaurant, announced in January that the restaurant would be closing. The restaurant was run for many years by their father, Kenny Fischer, the longtime Belleville restaurateur and civic leader who died Jan. 18, 2016, at 84.

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