Marquette Towers opens its doors

Monday, May 7, 2007

There's no longer a need to hold up traffic while checking for progress in the Marquette Towers, owners Pat and James Allen said.

The doors are open.

The Marquette Restaurant & Bar will start serving at 4 p.m. today.

Thomas Meyer, the leasing agent for the 76-year-old building, said he's the first one with dinner reservations. The Marquette Towers had a couple restaurants come and go in a short period of time, but Meyer said the Allens are here to stay.

"Their reputation is hard-earned," Meyer said. "They know what they're doing. They've got so many people anxious to open the door."

According to Pat Allen, the Marquette will be upscale casual. Entrees -- sandwiches, chicken, fish, steak and pasta -- range anywhere from $9 to $23. She said people are welcome to walk in, unless it's a special occasion, then reservations would be wise.

"The more options that are offered downtown, the more apt people will feel to go out," said Pat Allen, who is happy to be a part of Old Town Cape. "They could come in, have a drink and an appetizer with us and go to the next place."

There is a room with a martini bar that can seat about 65 people, according to Jay Holiman, the general manager. He was transferred from Celebrations, the Allens' other restaurant. Mike Rust, the owner of Rust & Martin, has lent a number of paintings to decorate the walls of the martini bar, which is a nonsmoking room.

Then there's a full-scale bar with tall tables and ashtrays, where Gatherings Cafe once was.

According to Holiman, the lobby is big enough for 125 people. It could be used for events or overflow when tables are full.

"It's what Cape's been lacking," Holiman said.

"People know the name," Pat Allen said. "Rather than confuse them, we thought, 'Why not just be the Marquette?'"

* Greg Ryan, a Cape Girardeau native, has taken over Snappy Delivery at 909 Enterprise St. The moving and transportation service has been in operation in Cape Girardeau since the early 1930s. Former owners Bob and Janet Luttrell have decided that the business should keep on trucking.

They are helping Ryan get started.

"It's funny because everyone's been moved by Snappy Delivery at one time or another, but the Luttrells never did a lot of advertising," Ryan said. "It comes from word-of-mouth -- better than any advertising you could buy."

Ryan will move anyone within a 50 to 60 mile radius. The cost of the trucks and movers is $50 an hour, but the price fluctuates depending on the needs of the customer. Ryan said he'll even help people move furniture from one room to another.

The Luttrells say they are only "semi-retired." They still own B & J Delivery, the commercial delivery service next door to Snappy.

Local real estate agent Doris Arnold closed the deal on the sale of the business last week.

* After a 40-year stretch, Murakami Auto Service on Merriwether Street closed April 24. Mark Murakami, who has worked at the shop since he was 13 or 14, took over the business in 2004 when his father, Roy Murakami, died.

His father moved to Cape Girardeau in the 1950s, and Murakami said everyone here knows the name because it is so unique to the area (I know what you mean, Mark).

Murakami, 45, said it was getting tough running the shop alone, and he was simply ready for a change. He's been drag racing since high school and took an opportunity to work at his friend's shop, Garet Race Cars, in Marble Hill, Mo.

"I guess it's kind of like a job but it's actually my hobby," Murakami said.

* Between businesses opening, closing and changing hands, rumors tend to circulate. Some people have heard that 2 North Bistro is shutting down, but according to owner Nate Smith, the business is expanding. He didn't want to get too specific at this point, but said a new bar will be put in soon.

* I can't forget about East Cape Girardeau, Ill., which I almost drove right through on a mission to find The Rose Garden on Iroquois Street. Musa Rahmani and his brother Al opened the restaurant just over the bridge Thursday. They will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. I have read about a lot of comings and goings in the location, including Witz's, Joey's, Courtney's and Marjorie's. Rahmani said he has a full menu of Mediterranean foods and he is ready to beat the odds.

Tim Krakowiak is the business editor at the Southeast Missourian. Contact him at 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, or (573) 335-6611, extension 137

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