Future Of Moline Bishop's Buffet Still Uncertain - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Future Of Moline Bishop's Buffet Still Uncertain

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It's several days now that the doors have been closed at a decades-old Quad Cities area mainstay. Management at the Bishop's Buffet in Southpark Mall say fewer people eating out and higher food costs the last few years led to financial strains. But will it be the end? Several with the company and in the community are hoping it isn't.

"My first job, started at 16. It's the first one I applied for," said Candee Argo. She started as a potato server and has been with Bishop's in Moline since day one, nearly 33 years. Argo says it's the family atmosphere that's kept her around this long. "Sad because this has been my life all my life. To think about not waking up and coming here is kind of hard."

Generations have dug into Bishop's wide selection of entrees, topped off by famous cooked-from-scratch pies. But the doors closed Sunday, with employees, patrons, and General Manager and minority interest owner Mike Sollars not knowing if it would be for the last time. Sollars' intention is that it won't be. "I don't plan on giving up. I don't give up on them," he said.

"I think Southpark definitely wants us here, needs us here. The whole Quad Cities, they've grown up with Bishop's and it would be a shame if we weren't here for them," said Gerri Birdsall, another employee since day one.

For the last several days owners have been working with investors and mall management. They tell TV-6 that several of the hurdles have been handled but there is still a cash crunch as far as restocking the restaurant. "Not sure exactly how we're going to do that, but as long as people keep talking to us we're going to keep trying to get the store back open," added Sollars.

Many of the restaurant's 38 employees volunteered to clean and help out on Wednesday. They're holding out hope that the buffet will make a come back.

The first Bishop's opened in 1920 in Waterloo. At one time there were 38 locations throughout Midwest with others in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Bettendorf and Davenport. The buffet in Moline opened in 1979 and is the last Bishop's left.

Managers say the buffet will remain closed through the next few days at least. They hope to know by the beginning of next week whether or not it will stay that way.