Metro-East News

Fischer’s restaurant and banquet hall in Belleville could be demolished

Demolition could be the future of the former Fischer’s in Belleville

The three-acre site and vacant building that housed the former Fischer's restaurant and banquet hall has been closed since Feb. 15, 2017. The building could be demolished if the owners can’t find a buyer.
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The three-acre site and vacant building that housed the former Fischer's restaurant and banquet hall has been closed since Feb. 15, 2017. The building could be demolished if the owners can’t find a buyer.

The former home of Fischer’s restaurant and banquet hall in Belleville could be demolished if the owners can’t find a buyer.

The vacant building at 2100 W. Main St. has been on the market since the restaurant closed on Feb. 15, 2017, and has become too costly for the family to maintain, co-owner Annette Allan said Monday. Taxes on the property alone cost the family $16,409 for the 2016 tax year.

Fixtures and equipment will be sold in a public auction set for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 18. If a buyer for the building doesn’t come forward after that, the family will likely move forward with the demolition, Allan said.

“It’s going to be horrible,” Allan said of the pending demolition day. “It was horrible when we had to close.

“We are still open for an offer on the building. My wish for the place is for someone to buy it and open a restaurant and a banquet center.”

Fischer’s was family owned until it closed in 2017. Kenny Fischer, the longtime Belleville restaurateur and civic leader who died at age 84 on Jan. 18, 2016, owned and operated the restaurant for many years. His daughters, Allan and Kathy Bingheim, assumed ownership and operated the business with the help of general manager Corea Buck.

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The exterior of Fischer’s Restaurant. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

The restaurant in its heyday was a Belleville icon. It had one of the largest banquet rooms in the metro-east, along with nine private party rooms. For years, it was the site of many large public gatherings, from Chamber of Commerce banquets to the annual Belle-Scott Dinner. People from all around the region would come to Fischer’s for Sunday dinner or holiday meals.

Over the years, additions made room for a nicer sit-down restaurant, WIBV radio station, miniature golf course, A&W Root Beer stand and a hotel, which in recent years was converted into Lindenwood University student housing.

The family attempted to auction off the building soon after the restaurant closed and received one offer for $800,000. But that offer wasn’t real, Allan said Monday.

The bid was made by phone, and the bidder’s identity was not disclosed. Allan did not say who made the offer or why she did not accept it.

The property has remained on the market since then. In April 2017, the property was listed for $940,000. Since then, the price has dropped to $575,000, Matt Barriger a real estate broker with BarberMurphy Group confirmed.

The three-acre site has 200 parking spots; multiple dining rooms can seat 250; and the banquet hall can seat 700.

Over the years, Fischer’s turned away from fine-dining to a more casual restaurant, according to previous stories. By the end of its run, the restaurant was prized for its fried chicken.

Staff writer Mike Koziatek contributed to this report.

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Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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