Columbia Landmark Officially Opens with Lighting Ceremony

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COLUMBIA - A historical landmark in Columbia officially reopened its doors with the lighting ceremony of a locally famous sign Thursday night.

Glenn's Café held its grand opening outside the Tiger Hotel. Although the café opened six weeks ago, merging with the Tiger Hotel, Thursday is when its restored, old-fashioned neon sign lit up 8th Street.

Stephen Cupp, the former owner and now executive chef of Genn's Café, said there were a few bumps along the way.

"We had some problems hanging the sign," said Cupp. "The problem was that it's a large sign and it was going over the sidewalk. We had to go through the lengthy permit process and fortunately we also [were allowed] to hang our sign."

The Columbia City Historic Preservation Committee met in November to discuss how to preserve a few historic landmarks, and one of the issues that came up was the sign for Glenn's Café. The City of Columbia has restrictions on the size, amount and types of signs that local business owners are allowed to have. Glenn's Café actually is exempt from these restrictions.

Cupp said people feel an attachment to historical landmarks such as the café and its sign.

"It is kind iconic in some ways," said Cupp. "When it came out it was a big deal. When we were in the process of moving the [big questions] were we going to have chicken-chopping tools, was there going to be corn bread and was there going to be the sign. This is just a place that people remember, and it takes them back."

Glenn's Café was originally located on the corner of 9th and Cherry Street. The café closed in 2002 and moved to Boonville, where it reopened in 2006 at Hotel Frederick.