For months while at work, a popular topic of discussion was of old restaurants and businesses that have disappeared from Columbia and the memories we have of those unique and interesting places. I say unique because once these businesses were gone there was little or nothing to replace them, at least in my opinion.
Columbia has been a growing city, thus it has drawn in the various chain restaurants and stores giving it the appearance of any other mid-western community it's size. It still has some features that make it unique like Columbia College, the UMC campus, Stephens College and the likes but it's the little things that I feel the community is missing. Those old restaurants and businesses I will be listing spark my memories, both good and bad, and I believe they added color and spice to our little area of the world. I am sad that I'm unable to take my children to these places but they will develop their own memories in time and a possible good side, they are saved from listening to mine.
Before I start I want to thank some coworkers who inspired me to start this list. To Mr. Ed who gave me the article's title and is constantly challenging my mental capacity with questions about new businesses opening up around Columbia. And of course Dietary Dave aka "Mr. Columbia" for his superior memory of everything Columbia and his sense of humor. I will limit the list to only places I have visited and have memories of and I will try to include addresses, personalities and anything else that comes up. In the future I hope to add photos, graphics and resources that may help all of us. Everyone reading these posts are welcome to start their own site to increase the information and expand the subject matter. And please forgive my sophomoric attempt at writing until I get the rust out of my brain and fingers. Well here goes:
Heritage House Restaurant
Off Business Loop 70 and on the southwest outer I-70 road was a buffet of buffets. Heritage House had a great buffet of good to substandard food which helped feed me during my college days. I remember salty country ham, soggy fried frog legs, barely cooked fried chicken and interesting vegetables of an unknown nature. My friends and I loved eating there because we could eat a huge amount of food for a great price. I once remember playing with a cockroach on our table while eating and my friends were jealous because they did not have one for themselves. (I let the cockroach run off to finish it's short life and washed my hands.) Running the show was an interesting gentleman named Sam Collier who would walk around looking at the food, sometimes check you out at the register and made tv commercials for his place. I remember him well because I had Food Handler's Class with him twice and he seemed to know everyone. The instructor would pick on him and he brought some humor to a boring class. Some time after the restaurant closed they started tearing the building down and we wondered about all the roaches and where they would go. We also remembered huge amounts of food, good conversations and a good time for all.