One of the first things I spotted on the way down Broadway was the name change on The Royal N’Orleans – Creole Steakhouse Est. 1954. The old name was still on the entrance canopy, but the two signs facing Broadway now read Katy O’Ferrell’s Publick House.
Dr. Lily Santoro, Chris Kinder and I tried to stop there for lunch after the Techniques in Local History class last week, but it was closed.
A March 17, 2014, Missourian story said Mark Dirnberger, the owner, got his start working at the Burger King on Broadway when he was 16. He also owns Bella Italia. I’ll catch Katy’s when it’s open and report back to you.
The Royal N’Orleans closed in 2009. I have to admit that I was concerned when it was still dark in 2011. I hope Dirnberger can make a go of it.
I shot this photo as a candidate for The Missourian’s annual Achievement Edition because it looked like Ricardo’s Italian Swiss Chalet Ristorante on Broadway had been spiffed up. My newspaper buddies are going to say I buried the lead, so stick in there until the very end for a surprising twist.
Not as spiffy in 2009
I was scrolling through some of the other pictures I’ve taken walking up and down Broadway more recently and spotted this 2009 picture that makes the building look a little rough. I can’t tell what has gone into what used to be Sisco’s Professional Barber Salon on the left. There are some beer signs in the window, so it may have been joined with the former Ricardo’s.
Tattoos replace optometrists
Optometrists Joe L. Mosley and James A. Drace have been replaced by a tattoo parlor.
Owner of landmark business dies in crash
When I did a search for “Ricardo’s” I couldn’t believe the story that showed up in the March 7, 2003, Missourian: “Crash kills founder of Cape McDonald’s.”
As 13 of the fast-food restaurants around Southeast Missouri continue to fly their flags at half-staff, authorities are pointing to bad weather as a contributing factor in the Wednesday night airplane crash that took the life of Jerry Davis, the man who brought McDonald’s to Cape Girardeau 35 years ago.
The McDonald’s connection would have been enough to make him an important figure in Cape’s dining scene, but a detail at the bottom of Scott Moyer’s story was astounding: In the past, Davis has also owned Royal N’Orleans and three eating establishments that have since closed: Ricardo’s, Shakey’s Pizza and Pfisters Drive-In.
Except for Wimpy’s, Mr. Davis had a corner on Cape Girardeau’s version of American Graffiti.
About this time in 2011, I wrote about a spooky place in Cape where I swore I could hear plants screaming. The Plaza Galleria, behind the Town Plaza Shopping Center, had been closed since 2005, but the plants in the lobby had been left behind. (You can click on the photos to make them larger or follow the link to see more examples.)
Plaza Galleria is out of sci-fi movie
There must have been enough roof leaks to water the plants and keep some of them alive, with their leaves pressed against the glass lobby’s window panes like they were trying to get out. Some didn’t make it.
Missourian reporter Shay Alderman had a story in Wednesday’s paper that the Plaza Galleria is scheduled to be razed in the next few weeks. The building held the area’s first supermarket in 1969, and served as an ice skating rink in the 1980s.
Dying plant in the Royal N’Orleans
I started looking for orphaned plants in closed buildings. Here’s one in the Royal N’Orleans from April 2011. Looking through the window at tables still covered with tablecloths was sad enough, but the neglected plant gave the 1806 landmark a real feeling of being abandoned.
I spotted these plants on the 4th of July 2011 in what I took to be some kind of government office in Cairo. I didn’t know if the office had closed or if the occupants were just careless in their watering.
Some managed to escape
When I went back in November 2012, the office was empty. Someone must have taken the plants that were still alive.
Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church
This plant was behind a window in the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo.
Blomeyer Drive-In screen being eaten
The concrete Montgomery Drive-In screen in Blomeyer looks like it’s being devoured by something out of one of the sci-fi movies that once played on it.