Christmas Eve tradition bring families back to Booche’s

Monday, December 24, 2007 | 3:20 p.m. CST; updated 2:17 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Family and friends have another reason, aside from delicious burgers, to gather at Booche’s, a restaurant and pool hall on South Ninth Street in downtown Columbia: tradition.

Christmas Eve is one of the busiest days of the year for Booche’s, co-owner Richard Robertson said. Robertson and Charles Kurre bought the restaurant July 2004.

“Everybody comes down here,” said Columbia-raised Steve Guthrie, who for 20 years has made the trek back every Christmas from wherever he was living at the time — this year, Pennsylvania.

Nelson Richter, a regular when he went to college in Columbia in 1961, has brought his family to Booche’s for Christmas since the late ‘80s.

Laura Thomas, Richter’s daughter, said that her family has been making regular Christmas trips to Booche’s since her college days in the early ‘90s. Her family now lives in New Hampshire.

“We come for the burgers and atmosphere,” she said.

In order to prepare for the busy holiday tradition, Booche’s prepares “a lot of hamburgers and a lot of beer,” Robertson said.

He declined to say how much of each the restaurant has to prepare every year.

John Marhsall helped cook burgers and said the restaurant served more than 1,200 burgers on Christmas Eve this year.

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