The Spring House Restaurant to Close in November

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

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By Forrest Saunders

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - It’s one of the oldest restaurants operating in Cedar Rapids, but not for much longer. After 44 years, The Spring House on Center Point Road announced it’s closing November 3rd.

The Spring House opened in 1969. It got its name from the McCloud Spring which runs beneath it. Co-Owner Lester Schmitz said the restaurant used to serve spring water to guests until a change in state law that forbade it.

"We have to stop so many people because they think this is spring water and they want to drink it," said Schmitz pointing to the fountain in the restaurant’s front lobby.

Schmitz has poured much of his life into the Spring House. He started working there when he was 14 as a bus boy. He now co-owns it with his family. And family is what Spring House is all about.

"It's like an old country restaurant where everybody knows everybody's name," said Schmitz.

Schmitz blames the shutdown on the high cost of renovation to make their bathrooms ADA compliant. But also said his younger customers are headed to newer spots these days, while older customers are getting hit by a rough economy.

"Their pocket book has been affected. So they can't afford to eat out twice a day here, like they used to," he said.

Customer, Neta McMahon brought her kids to The Spring House when they were young.

"I think this was the first place we came, coming home from the hospital with one of the kids," she said.

Now she brings her grandchildren, but hates that they won't be able to do the same.

"Sad to see it go. We're going to miss it, definitely," said McMahon.

Employees feel similar. Cook, Tina Lauderdale has been working at Spring House for nine years and will miss the camaraderie.

"It's been great, the home cook foods, the homemade foods, everything," she said.

Schmitz doesn’t know what he’ll do next. But said he'll be left with fond memories, like when President George W. Bush visited in '05. He said there’s a list of things he’ll miss. In particular, his customers and his co-workers.

"We've met a lot of great people. It's going to be hard to see that go," said Schmitz.

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