Glenn’s Café has relocated three times in its history, but one thing has remained the same since 1954: the red and white Glenn’s Café sign, which now hangs at its current location at the Hotel Frederick in Boonville in all its retro glory.
The restaurant opened in 1943 as Glenn’s Drive-In. Original owners Glenn and Tilly Purdy set up shop on Highway 40 and Sexton Road, which Columbians now know as the location of Head Kia on Business Loop 70. The Purdys changed the name to Glenn’s Café after a remodeling and expansion, which included the addition of the red and white sign.
Various owners, including Rolla Williams and Ben Schaffer, ran the café between its opening and 1985, when current proprietor Steve Cupp took over. After three years, Cupp moved Glenn’s to its second location on Ninth and Cherry Streets in downtown Columbia.
Glenn’s shut down in 2002 after Cupp saw a decline in profits, but an opportunity to revive it came in the form of another historic renovation. The Hotel Frederick, built in 1905 in Boonville, went unused for a decade until undergoing a restoration in 2004. Owner Bill Haw approached Cupp about running the hotel restaurant and, more specifically, bringing back Glenn’s Café.
The latest iteration of this resilient restaurant opened in 2006 inside the hotel. Glenn’s offers a menu that “uses all the flavors of the Mississippi Basin and Delta” and an award-winning wine list.
Although Glenn’s Café has gone through a lot of changes over the years, the name that made it famous remains the same. And when longtime customers come out to Boonville to find an old favorite, the red and white sign will still be outside waiting to greet them.