The Tiger Hotel to bring back iconic Glenn's Cafe

Sunday, August 11, 2013 | 4:00 p.m. CDT; updated 7:23 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 11, 2013
Gumbo from Glenn's Cafe is served at The Velvet Cupcake Saturday in The Tiger Hotel. Select items from Glenn's will be available at The Velvet Cupcake while construction is completed on the long-time restaurant's new location in the historic hotel.

COLUMBIA — One block over and 10 years later, Glenn’s Cafe is back.

Formerly in Boonville, the restaurant is moving into The Tiger Hotel. Hotel management hopes to begin serving guests Oct. 1.

“It’s a great fit. We had other ideas at first, but the more we talked about it, the better it seemed to fit. It’s just right for the space," Tiger Hotel CEO Glyn Laverick said.

Glenn’s Cafe will move into the space previously occupied by Bleu. Bleu moved to Boone Tavern in February 2012, according to a previous Missourian article.

Glenn’s Cafe and The Tiger Hotel are both historically significant to Columbia. Steve Cupp, food and beverage director at The Tiger Hotel, bought Glenn’s in 1985 when it was a “greasy-spoon diner” along Business Loop 70.

The diner “was a working man’s place. Beer and breakfast after getting off work at 7 a.m.,” Cupp said. Cupp began the process of restyling the diner into an upscale-casual restaurant immediately after purchasing it.

Glenn’s moved downtown in 1988 to Ninth and Cherry streets where it stayed until 2002. In 2006, Cupp reopened at the Hotel Frederick in Boonville. Management at the Hotel Frederick was unavailable this weekend for comment, but a new restaurant is in the works, said a front desk clerk. Glenn’s Cafe closed Aug. 4 to prepare for its move back to Columbia.

Laverick believes the synergy between the boutique hotel, built in 1928, and Glenn’s will lend itself well to success.

“There’s a whole new generation of people downtown," Laverick said. "It’s been 10 years since it’s been gone. We are hugely excited.”

Glenn’s faithful patrons will see a lot of the same at the new Eighth and Cherry location. The New Orleans atmosphere they remember, and many of the same menu items, will continue in the new space.

“It’s nostalgic for some," Laverick said. "For others, it’s a great new food option."

The restaurant will be an intimate setting with lots of booths, "a great space that lends itself to lingering awhile," Laverick said. There will be custom wallpaper, and a 4-foot long chandelier as its centerpiece.

The menu will include many of the Boonville favorites, such as gumbo and shrimp creole, but a final menu has not been completed. Glenn’s Cafe will feature a raw bar with oysters, ceviche and tuna tartare.

Until the brick and mortar location is ready for business, several of Glenn’s menu items are available at The Velvet Cupcake in The Tiger Hotel. Cupp expects the teaser items to include shrimp creole and jambalaya, among others. The offerings will be promoted using The Velvet Cupcake’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Cupp also hopes to hang the iconic Glenn’s Cafe sign outside, but he is waiting for clearance from the city. He said they are waiting to get the variance to use it how they want to.

Until then, Cupp and Laverick excitedly await the restaurant's opening and the start of their partnership.

“It’s not like anything else in Columbia," Laverick said. "There’s nothing like Glenn’s."

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.

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Jimmy Bearfield August 11, 2013 | 6:24 p.m.

Makes sense. Boonville is a backwater. Few people from Columbia want to trek all the way out there to eat.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger August 11, 2013 | 10:08 p.m.

Mouth-watering photograph! Can't wait for the opening....

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield August 12, 2013 | 11:38 a.m.

Hank, maybe this could become the official watering hole for the Old Southwest, like the place where Coley's is now.

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