Cherry Street Artisan closes, awaits makeover

Sunday, September 6, 2009 | 8:01 p.m. CDT; updated 10:59 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

COLUMBIA — Pretty soon, the Cherry Street Artisan as Columbia residents know it will cease to exist.

On Aug. 31, owner Laurie McAllister closed the cafe at 111 S. Ninth St. with plans to refurbish it and reopen it under a different name sometime after Labor Day.

“My son Ryan recently moved up from Springfield and is now coming on board as an owner,” McAllister said. “We just wanted the business to feel more like ours.”

McAllister’s daughter Katelyn will also be joining her mother and brother in ownership of the new restaurant.

McAllister said plans for the new establishment — to be called the Underground — include an expansion of the menu and a new line of espresso called Intelligentsia, which according to McAllister is “top of the line.”

The Underground Café, which will open in the same location, will continue the tradition of featuring live music. McAllister said she is seeking out new musical acts to make the stage more varied.

Several factors led to the closing of the Artisan, but McAllister said the main reason is that she and her children wanted to “make a clean break.”

“We’re connected to some things we might not necessarily want to be connected to,” McAllister said, but she declined discussing the restaurant's finances in detail.

McAllister did acknowledge, however, that a federal tax lien for unpaid payroll taxes exists in her name. "I have taken over the responsibility of the lien," McAllister said. "It has become my personal tax lien."

 The Artisan was a popular gathering place, especially for college-age students and was known for its food, drink, live music and events. McAllister is confident that the new establishment will continue to be a place where friends can gather to eat, drink and have fun.

“We are committed to being a part of the downtown community,” she said.

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