An iconic downtown Union restaurant has temporarily closed its doors after briefly going takeout only.
White Rose Cafe, which first opened in 1931 and has occupied its spot at 208 E Main St. since 1939, announced it will be closed from Sunday, March 22, until Friday, April 17. Owner Dana Robinson told The Missourian that the decision was to protect the safety of her 30 employees, as well as customers, many of whom are elderly and at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
“It’s too many unknowns, so we decided it was safer to close,” she said. “It’s just not worth risking anyone’s life.”
White Rose followed county guidelines allowing for takeout or curbside service for a couple days. Robinson said that was mainly to use up some perishable inventory before the closure, but she felt she made the right decision when business turned out to be only about 20 percent of normal.
White Rose employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits during the closure, Robinson said. She also gave them leftover food to take home.
“I told them to call if they need anything,” she said.
Robinson is confident White Rose will reopen when the time comes.
“We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We’ve been here too long.”
But the time away will be tough.
“We’re gonna really, really miss our customers during this time,” Robinson said. “That was the hardest part.”
This won’t be the first time the cafe, named for the White Rose gasoline sold at the service station that originally housed it, has seen an extended closure. The restaurant, then owned by relatives of founder Reinhard Schroeder, closed in February 1999.
White Rose was renovated and reopened by new owners in May 2000.
According to a menu on its website, White Rose still offered brain sandwiches, a dish that helped make the cafe famous.
One of White Rose’s Facebook posts announcing the closure featured a quote from the Dr. Seuss book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
“When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad ... you should do what I do ... Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!
“Some people are much more ... oh, ever so much more ... oh muchly much-much more unlucky than you!”
For information on restaurants that remain open with carry out service, the city of Union compiled this list (Restaurants with drive-thrus are not listed):
• Sweet Designs by Mandi: Pre-order via Facebook, cupcakes may be available same day, call ahead, 636-744-8280.
• Union City BBQ: Curbside Pickup, delivery coming soon, 636-744-8585, www.unioncitybbq.com. Also on Facebook.
• Que Pasa: Delivery within 10 miles and curbside pickup, 636-744-1214. Also on Facebook.
• El Ranchito: Curbside Pickup, Carry Out - 636-583-8990 www.elranchitounion.com. Also on Facebook.
• Hagies 19: Curbside Pickup - 636-583-1569 www.hagies19.com. Also on Facebook.
• Johnny’s: Curbside Pickup, Carry Out 636-583-9900 Also on Facebook.
• Junie Moon: Curbside Pickup, Carry Out - 636-584-0180 www.juniemooncafe.com. Also on Facebook.
• T’s Liquor Lane - Take out, liquor store open - 636-584-8909 www.tsliquorlane.com, Also on Facebook.
• Creations by Laura: Closed until March 31, call ahead for consultations, 636-584-0110, www.creationsbylaura.net.
• Yamato: Closed temporarily.
• Chef Buffet: Takeout, 636-583-8883, www.chefbuffetunion.com.
• China King: Curbside pickup, 636-584-8800.
• Pasta House: Curbside pickup, carry out, 636-583-4900 www.pastahouse.com/union-menus. Also on Facebook.
• El Tapatio: Curbside pickup, carry out; 636-583-2898; www.doordash.com.
• Red White & Brew: Curbside pickup, call 636-744-8383, delivery available via Grubhub and Doordash.