Aunt Maggie’s on Main has been open since Dec. 5, and big changes are already in store for the Columbia restaurant.
Co-owned by siblings Jackie Rudy-Tewell and Craig Rudy, and father John Rudy, Aunt Maggie’s sits where the former Lantern and Red Apple restaurants were.
Jackie knows Columbia and the surrounding communities have big expectations for the restaurant, and their employees are working to meet these needs.
They have employed 30 people, including a few former Lantern employees.
“My brother and my dad have been in the food business all their life,” Jackie said.
Jackie and her brother and father looked at a few different places before settling on the building at 230 N. Main Street.
“This opportunity presented itself last fall and we took it,” she said.
They fixed the place up and repainted it with a gold and deep red color scheme.
“We’ve tried to work with as many local businesses as possible,” Jackie said. “My dad’s a firm believer that you have to be dedicated to your community.”
Jackie said getting everything ready to open was a long process, and they decided to open the restaurant with a buffet and work their way to a menu at a later date.
John Rudy’s expertise is catering, and he was in the bakery business over in Soulard for many years.
He then did catering in New Baden with his nephew, and will continue to take orders out of Aunt Maggie’s on Main.
“Dad’s true love is baking. He lives for this,” Jackie said. “Anybody can call in at any time.”
Items like pies, strudels and cheesecakes will be available through the catering aspect of the restaurant.
Jackie said the name of the restaurant comes from her aunt Margaret, who took on a motherly role for John when he was very young.
Since she played a big part in the family’s life, John decided the restaurant should be named in her honor.
Right now, Aunt Maggie’s on Main serves lunch and dinner buffets and opens at 11 a.m.
Dinner buffets are $10.95 and lunch buffets are $8.95.
They switch out what they offer each day.
For example, Wednesday is chicken and dumplings day and Friday nights they serve fried cod.
“Through the seven weeks that we’ve been open, there have been a lot of people that enjoy the buffet,” Jackie said. “What we’re going to do starting in February is keep the dinner buffet, but start introducing some plated items from the kitchen as well.”
Jackie said she hopes they will have the full menu in place in the coming months, along with breakfast.
“We’re all still learning,” she said. “We’re really looking to grow our business and make it a happy place where people can come eat.”
Jackie said that so far, feedback from customers has been good.
“The community has been so welcoming, and we’re very excited to be here,” she said. “We have a lot of repeat customers already.”