63 Diner sold to local bank

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 9:15 p.m. CDT; updated 12:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — For the second time in a week, employees and customers of the 63 Diner gathered at the steps of the Boone County Courthouse to see what would happen to their favorite restaurant.

But Wednesday’s sale of the diner’s land and building didn’t clear up the uncertainty.

Premier Bank bought the diner for $600,000 and was the only bidder at the auction. The bank is also the lender that issued the original loan for $1.23 million defaulted on by 63 Diner LLC, the ownership group.

Neither the restaurant’s owners nor Premier Bank’s representatives would comment on the sale of the diner.

Jennifer Whithaus, a server at the diner, said she’s still optimistic.

“We’ve been praying and hoping and trying to make sure we’re going to stay open,” she said. “It’s looking up for us.”

Whithaus said she and other employees of the diner have been on what she called “unpaid vacation.”

The diner closed its doors at the end of the day April 22, anticipating the auction that was originally scheduled April 23.

That auction was postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday.

But it wasn’t clear if or when the diner would reopen.

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Mike Bellman May 1, 2008 | 9:04 a.m.

I hope that the employees have been contacted and are aware of unemployment benefits. This counts as a work stoppage and they should be claiming it.

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