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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Esicar’s Looks Closed

I mentioned back in April that I didn’t think I had ever been in Esicar’s. There was such an immediate outcry from readers wondering if was really a Cape Girardeau resident that I had to scurry to produce a certified copy of my birth certificate. That, plus a pledge to try them the next time I hit town stilled the mob for awhile.

The photo above was taken April 22, not long after a March 6, 2011, fire that did an estimated $300,000 damage to the structure. The Missourian reported that the electrical fire was ruled accidental. The portable sign in front of the store reads, “Thank you for your support & business. We will open ASAP.”

Still closed July 22

After passing the place for a couple of weeks without seeing any activity, I stopped by the business on July 22. The portable sign promising to “reopen ASAP” is gone, but the two white buckets full of greasy water are still there.

This was taken at 10:41 am, on a Friday, well within the posted business hours, but the door was locked and two CLOSED signs were displayed.

Looks the same as it did in April

Everything inside the north front window looks like it’s in the same place as it was on my last visit.

South window unchanged

Nothing has changed in the south window in three months and the glass has that smoky, greasy appearance of a building where a fire has occurred. The OPEN sign was not illuminated.

Fliers promote March events.

More telling is that the fliers in the window promote events that happened in March. If a Cape County business doesn’t have a Jacque Sue Waller poster up, then you KNOW they’re closed.

(Jacque Sue Waller is a mother of triplets who went missing on the day when she was going to finalize divorce proceedings and to pick up her son from his father. Her car was found abandoned with a flat tire along I-55, but there’s been no trace of her. Her husband is a “person of interest,” but no arrests have been made because it’s not clear what crime, if any has been committed. Keep watching TV. The missing woman is young and attractive, so she may be the next woman to take over Casey Anthony’s spot on the news. The Missourian has created a special section to keep you updated.)

Interior in disarray

A glance through the front store window shows an unplugged freezer on a cart, general disarray, partially empty soft drink bottles on the counter and a dark ceiling that looks like has black smoke near the vent in the middle of the room. It’s pretty much the same as I remember seeing in April.

Neighboring businesses don’t know anything

I checked with two businesses just south of the store. One said they hadn’t seen anyone in the place since the March fire. Another thought they were closed and did an Internet search which turned up at least one complaint from someone who had a gift card that wasn’t being honored.

I placed a call to the telephone number listed on Esicar’s Old Hickory Smokehouse website and reached a telephone company intercept message telling me that I have to dial a 1 or a 0 in front of the number. Considering that I’m calling from a cell phone, I can only assume that the call is being forwarded somewhere, because I shouldn’t have to dial a 1 or 0 in front of any number in the continental U.S.

Something else that’s odd about the website is that it has a management/semo.edu address. Does SEMO host business websites?

Empty shopping carts

A peek through the north window shows shopping carts in the same position for three months.

Is this the end of the line?

Esicar’s was established in 1934 and was sold in 2007. Will a fire in 2011 mark the end of a Cape Girardeau landmark business? If anyone has any information about when and if the business is going to reopen, let me know.

It sounds like it’s over for Esicar’s for now

Update: after writing this and before pressing the PUBLISH button, I received an email from a reader who wrote, “They are not going to open again under this ownership.  The electrical fire destroyed all the meat cases, the interior and all the meats they had
on hand.  I will really miss them and I can’t find any bacon that is nearly as good as theirs. What a loss!  The insurance did not begin to cover their expenses.”

12 comments to Esicar’s Looks Closed

  • Cactus4

    That insurance comment sounds iffy. What bank would have given them a loan without adequate insurance?

  • Margi Whitright

    Sad news. This was on Jerry’s list of must stops when we were in Cape. We always took bacon home with us.

  • stephen cotner

    i had heard there was a fire there. my last visit to cape my sister vicki had given me a package of smoked hillbillie butt.she said she could buy some more.hopefully some sort of esicar’s will open.so many of the places we grew up with are gone..like bierswalls..i know i am butching that spellin..LOL

  • Jill

    I hate to hear it…but the insurance thing makes complete sense. I own 4 restaurants and have changed insurance companies several times over the years. Each time (when I’m being “romanced” by the agent who wants me) I learn shocking and terrifying information about how deficient my old coverage was. Often an agent will just quote a lower price to get the business even if there are gaping holes in the coverage. I suspect Esicars had the same insurance for years and no one revisited the coverage types and amounts. I will miss them.

  • ken roussel

    I am going to go sit in a corner, sobbing quietly into a Budweiser, and remember the hams, the bacon, the sausage, and the mincemeat!!!!!! Oh, the inhumanity of it all!!!! Hope like Dickens the owners??? get the wherewithal and the cojones to bring back one of Cape’s great purveyors of digestibles!!!!!molater, from the smoke and tears!!!!kkr

  • Bob Ravenstein

    sad ending… i can still taste the smoked ham and bacon..would stop by and have it shipped back to home here in Massachusetts (it took me years to learn how to spell that..i think i did it correctly :))

  • Lyndel Revelle

    Ken: You aren’t the only person from Cape that has never been in Esicars. I grew up and lived in Cape for 37 years (I live in Bloomfield now but get back to Cape at least once a week)but I never went into Esicars or bought anything from there. I heard it was good but I guess I never got around to buying anything from them. I guess I missed the boat. Actually I never went to Wimpy’s either or had a wimpy burger. How about that.

    • I guess, at least as far as Esicar’s is concerned, that we’re the exception to the old rule, “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

      We won’t be pining over something we never had.

      Now, if Wib’s was to go out of business…

  • Walter Lamkin

    No Christmas morning in my lifetime has come and gone without Esicar’s sausage for breakfast. After we drifted to parts all over, wherever in the world I or any of my five siblings resided, Mom and Dad always shipped the sausage. The taste is unique and the quality was in keeping with the character of the Esicar clan. I won’t give up until next Christmas Eve.

  • Joyce Holloway

    Esicar’s was the only place we purchased bacon. Several slabs have been shipped to friends even as far as Canada who were here and tasted their bacon and sausage (BLT’s)hmm, hmm good!
    The hunters in my family miss buying their bacon by the slab or slabs for deer camps.
    Also nothing compared to their mincemeat mixed with an apple for a 2 crust pie for Thanksgiving. MEMORIES ARE GREAT..0

  • Janet Robert

    Sorry to report that it looks like they are not going to reopen. The City was going to require too many upgrades and regulations after a recent fire. One of the coowners has now acquired other employment. I don’t know what we will do for bacon!!!

  • Vickie Sams Cash

    Old Hickory Specialty Meats (formerly Esicar’s) real estate and equipment will be auctioned off on Sunday 8/21/11 at 12:00 noon. This was on page 2C of today’s (8/3/11) SEMissourian. Esicar’s bacon was a staple at our house back when I was growing up. Best bacon ever!

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