Metro-East News

Belleville restaurant, Highland coffee shop close for good; ice cream is coming back

The Dog House serves stadium-inspired hot dogs

The Dog House located at West Main and South 20th streets in Belleville will feature major league stadium-inspired hot dogs.
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The Dog House located at West Main and South 20th streets in Belleville will feature major league stadium-inspired hot dogs.

The owner of a west Belleville restaurant said a persistent smell of sewer led to his decision to close down for good.

After six months in business on West Main Street, House of Dogs is shutting down, owner Gary Raymond announced the closure of House of Dogs in a farewell message on Facebook.

“We suffered massive loss of business due to four months of a severe sewer odor,” Raymond wrote. “I want to thank all who have supported us faithfully, it’s been a real pleasure.”

Raymond said in an interview that the odor made him sick and reiterated what he said on social media about the smell driving customers away.

The restaurant opened in August in the former home of the former Nanny Lou’s Kitchen at 1926 W. Main St. Raymond wanted the eatery to become a destination for ballpark franks, sandwiches, salads and pies.

But the odor in the restaurant and issues with his health prevented him from moving forward.

“Doctor said my stress level is doing severe damage to my on going liver disease,” Raymond wrote Jan. 24.

An original version of this article posted online on Feb. 6. The building’s owner, who wasn’t initially mentioned, has since disputed Raymond’s sewer claim. Mike Buettner said he addressed the issue when it was first brought to him four months ago, but that it took time to find the source of the smell – a broken sewer pipe.

“I had plumbers out there several times,” Buettner said. “They couldn’t find an issue”

Buettner said the problem was fixed and the odor is gone. The building is currently for sale.

Raymond has nearly 15 years of experience in running restaurants in Belleville and about 35 years overall.

Before arriving in Belleville, he was a chef in resort hotels in Mackinaw City, Mich.

Nudge Coffee in Highland shuts off its roasters for good

After weeks of looking for a way to open back up, the owners of Highland’s Nudge Coffee Roasters announced that coffee shop has closed for good.

The coffee shop, which moved to Highland’s city square after Schuette’s Market shutdown in 2017, was owned by Joe Ephrem and Maureena Smith.

The couple opened the shop in 2015 in Schuette’s Market, where they focused on micro-roasting coffee in-house and offering different coffees from around the globe. In late 2017 the shop began offering baked goods alongside their many beverage options.

The new home for Nudge Coffee Roasters, 1007 Broadway. The business will also open a new location in Breese, Ill. Megan Braa

Ephrem and Smith were the second owners of the shop.

Ephrem took to Facebook in December to announce the business had been shut down in because of failed tax payments. In his post, he wrote he and Smith had every intention to reopen if possible. Shortly after, a GoFundMe was created that quickly raised $1,600.

However, last week Ephrem announced on the Nudge Coffee Roaster’s Facebook page the store would be closing for good, calling it the end of a chapter. The shop’s Facebook page was later deleted.

White Cottage in Belleville changes the name of one of its treats after receiving a letter from Nestle.

One more thing...

The internet rejoiced late last month when one of the most popular ice cream stands in the metro-east announced its opening date for the 2019 season.

A file photo of the front of The White Cottage. BND

Belleville’s White Cottage, 102 Lebanon Ave., will open March 4. In other frozen dessert news, the iconic custard shop a Ted Drewes will open Feb. 12.

Ted Drewes enters it 90th season this year.

Staff writers Mike Koziatek and Kavahn Mansouri contributed to this report.
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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