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Central Yesterday

Entries, New and Old, Reawaken Memories
By Mike Greife

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When the Chick-fil-A® cow arrived on campus this fall, followed by the two Einstein Brothers®, it was official; the University of Central Missouri had entered a new era of food choices.

Chick-fil-A Express® joined Pizza Hut® Express, Burger King®, Garden Bistro™, Sub City™, and Taco Bell® in the Elliott Union Central Courte.

Next, a $3-million renovation by university food service provider Sodexo transformed Todd Dining Hall into their fifth nationwide, multi-restaurant venture, featuring the Flying Star Diner, Panino's Deli, Wild Mushroom, Bella Trattoria and Magellan's.

Then, Kirkpatrick Library entered UCM food history by opening an Einstein Bagels, becoming part of the largest bagel retail company in the U.S.

Some of the most prominent food franchises in the nation, these campus eateries continue a tradition that began generations ago.

Before such commercial food became popular on campus, the Warrensburg business community served students' appetites. Local restaurants such as Hart's Café, Lamb's Café, Wilson's Café, Tip Top Café, Peterson's Drive In, Conner's Café and the Corner Café catered to hungry students, often late at night.

Perhaps the most famous, and most often remembered, restaurant was Riggle's, located directly across from the campus on Maguire Street in the area once known as Buentetown. Later known as the Campus Inn, it served students for more than 30 years while others came and went along the same block of businesses. Although Buentetown, known to a later generation of students as the College Plaza, is gone, one building still stands. The old Buente grocery store, which for many years also was Ike Martin's music store, now houses Planet Sub.

One of the first franchised restaurants to arrive in Warrensburg was the Dog 'n Suds Drive In east of Maguire Street on Business Highway 50. A Pizza Hut® later was built at the same location, it now is the site of Walgreens. Sonic® appeared in Warrensburg in the 1960s, only to disappear for a decade or so during the 1980s. It reappeared in the same location, where it remains today, serving another generation of UCM students.

Before long, the Warrensburg business community grew to accommodate more of these restaurants. Commonly known as "drive-ins" because of the convenience of ordering from the car, they eventually became known as "fast food" restaurants because of the speed of service. Many of these franchise operations, such as Ku Ku and Mister S, are part of the local lore. Others, like McDonald's®, Burger King® and Wendy's® still compete with local

Pizza always has been popular, beginning with the Village Inn Pizza Parlor on South Maguire. Its location across from what once was the Campus Movie Theaters made it a popular place. Its location close to campus also made it popular for a variety of restaurants over the years.

Comments About This Article

I would love to have one of the Russian salads they used to serve at Walker's!

Wilson's was out on Highway 50. It was where we went in the early 80's for B's 'n G's (biscuits and gravy)..usually around 1:00 in the morning. They had the BEST biscuits and gravy.

What about that pizza place on the south side of town? I remember having my first taco pizza there in 1982.

Webb's cafe was on the corner of Business 50 & Washington. There was an A & W Root Beer before Dog N' Suds located approximately where Burger King is. And for the best Bar-B-Que every served in Warrensburg it was Breeze Inn.

Great article but I believe you meant Walker's Cafe, not Wilson's Cafe. I don't remember Wilson's but Walker's was downtown on the corner a block from the Courthouse. I also remember Milburn's. Thanks for the memories.

What about Taco Tico?

Nobody writes about Barney's. That was the favorite dancing place in the early '70s. Shree Loya

I proposed to my wife at Riggles and worked at Peterson's Drive-in and Ball's Cafe. I also spent a lot of time in Ma Browns.

Lamb's Cafe was my favorite. Open most hours of the night and later when it moved on the north side of Bus. 50 24 hour service, it was the favorite place to get coffee. Theirs was the first in Warrensburg to install a filter on the water and remove the "bad" taste from the local water, making the coffee the best in town.

How about the "TOP HAT" on Highway 50 east; Anderson's at the old hotel on South Holden, just up the hill on south side of the railroad station; Mother Brown's Tipsy Tea Room and last but not least Lambs at the junction of Highway 13 and 50.

This was a wonderful trip down memory lane, thinking about Hart's Cafe with its wooden booths, and, if I recall correctly, the Mule head at the door (not a real one of course). There was in the 1970s a great tea joint downtown, where I had my first plate of spaghetti. But let's talk about the BARS: The Granary, the Library. Dr. John singing "Right Place, Wrong Time" while a patron streaked the place. Some great Thursday evenings spent downtown.

Liddy's, Taco Grande, and Fosters little wooden barbecue hut.

Joe's, home of the Warrensburger, is missing!

How about the Warrensburger, Tim's Pizza, and the Tee Haus?

How about the "Q and S (Quality & Service) Bar," fondly known as "Ma Brown's." Laura Brown had cheese and crackers for a dime and Stag beer for 15 cents.

My favorite was a coffee house downtown that served flaming sundaes and great deli sandwiches with carrot cake. This was during the late 70s and early 80s.

I agree with the remarks about Walkers. Walkers fed me for several years while attending "Central Missouri State University" as it was known back then.

In the late 1950s, the Tip-Top Cafe served those fabulous half-moon shaped fried pies topped with ice cream. It still makes my mouth water to think about it after 50 years.

And, the West Pine Cafe, The Plaza Creme, the fountain at Buente Bros. Drug at Pine & Holden, and Coleman's store in the basement of the house at College & South.

I don't see The Bungalow listed. I'm not sure which one, but someone had fried pies for a nickel.

I would also add Walker's Cafe downtown, and Milburn's Drive-in at Young & Maguire. All and all, you did a terrific job

The thing I remember most about the campus in the early 70s were the unofficial street vendors and their hamburgers available til midnight along Hwy 13 south of Ellis Hall

It filled in a lot of years

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