Bull Pen Says Farewell

9 years 11 months 3 weeks ago April 01, 2007 Apr 1, 2007 Sunday, April 01 2007 Sunday, April 01, 2007 12:35:11 PM CDT in News
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Friends of the Bull Pen Cafe said goodbye at the Columbia restaurant Saturday afternoon.

The bull pen cafe opened in 1951 when Columbia looked a little different. Since then it's seen it's share of change.

This restaurant has turned friends into family, and today it was a last reunion.

It's tight quarters, as the final orders are on their way out. But at the Bull Pen, where everyone's like family, it's a sad day as they say goodbye.

"It's just, I can't believe they're closing and I won't get to come here anymore and see Jackie and Debbie and Pam," said Janet Russel, Bull Pen Cafe regular. "And it's been a family type thing. It's just sad."

Russell and friend Martha Jane Ehler say they've been coming to Bull Pen since they can remember. They love the atmosphere and attitude of this Columbia staple.

"It's nothing fancy, just come in, sit down, get a bunch of lip from the waitresses. Bug you about your fashion statements," said Ehler. "It's just down home."

Owner Jackie Cockrell is likely filling your coffee mug and ringing you out at the register. She knows almost every customer by name.

"Just thanking them for all the years, and the fun times, the good times, the sad times. You know a lot of memories," said Cockrell.

Now it's a hug as friends wish Jackie well.

"I've had people here since 4:30 this morning and they've been packed all the way out the door," said Cockrell. "You know they all kicked in there to help me"

Customers say it's not the food, but the friends, the people they'll miss most of all.

Russell says the Bull Pen Cafe is closing for a variety of reasons. Including change in traffic patterns, the livestock auction house leaving the area, and the smoking ban. Russell says she's not sure what she'll do next.

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