Route 66 News

Tri-County Restaurant is shut down

A spokeswoman at the Franklin County Health Department just confirmed to me that the historic Tri-County Restaurant on old Route 66 in Villa Ridge, Mo., was shut down in the past few days because of health violations.

A reader alerted me today that the restaurant had closed. One Route 66 Association of Missouri member that I later called said the restaurant was “going through some iffy times” and that it had closed in the “last couple of days.”

Another member told me of seeing the restaurant closed in recent days, with some “official-looking stickers” on the windows. That led me to call county health officials. The spokeswoman confirmed there were health violations, but didn’t elaborate.

Here’s a pretty good historical overview of the restaurant from a paranormal research site, of all places. The image above is from an old 1950s postcard.

I’ll try to make some other calls later today to confirm some things.

UPDATE: A supervisor at the Health Department later told me that restaurants are shut down when they are an “imminent health hazard.” Tri-County flunked the initial health inspection and failed the re-inspection, which usually indicates some serious deficiencies.

However, the supervisor also said that Tri-County operator’s lease expires this month and that she thinks the shutdown will be only temporary.

Kip Welborn of Friends of the Mother Road also thinks it’s temporary.

“What we know from here is that it is closed for remodeling and that there are permit issues that have to be addressed … Nothing indicates that the place is permanently shut down; it may be closed for a spell, but let’s hope not too long — some of us can only live without Country Cured Ham for so long!”


11 thoughts on “Tri-County Restaurant is shut down

  1. Bob

    I’m sorry to hear that. The last time we ate there was in June, and it seemed fairly busy over the noon hour. I hope they can get their problems ironed out.

  2. redforkhippie

    My guess is they had problems with a refrigeration unit or something along those lines. Temperature violations will get you shut down pretty fast. In an old building, you can get nickel-and-dimed to death on the little one-point violations (floor tiles the wrong color, cracks in the glass on a display case, wrong kind of light fixture coverings, etc.) but they usually won’t shut you down outright over that sort of thing.

    A temperature violation is usually worth several points and poses an actual threat to customers’ safety, so they’ll usually insist you either fix the problem immediately or close your doors until you can get it taken care of.

    Hopefully they’ll fix the place up and get it reopened in short order.

    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for somebody to buy the Red Cedar and bring back those to-die-for rolls and that heavenly salad dressing….


    I spoke with a waitress just before closing. She said that the restaurant was going to be sold and then remodeled. She didn’t say anything of how long they will be closed.

  4. Steve

    I ate there in Sept. and the board of health should have closed it down. In fact I was trying to find out who does the health inspections there when I found out it was closed. It was plain rotten, Dishes were dirty, the whole place was dirty especially the men’s room.

  5. Anonymous

    Actually, there was an issue with some asbestos in the basement that needed cleaned up so it was shut down and then the owner is going to turn it into a fifty’s diner like in Happy days.

  6. Anonymous

    The tri county resturaunt has been closed due to asbestos. It will probably not ever reopen due to the cost of remodeling. I have close personal ties to this place so I know the truth. Rumor has it that somone has ebated the asbestos and may reopen. But not any time soon.

  7. Brandy

    Its been Two years scince i poseted anything but I still think the place is Haunted, I believe in the paranormal, You ever hear about the Union Screaming house well if you havent read the book the Uninvited by Steven LaChance he lived in that house and He wrote about his experience and his kids experience.

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