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!”