Bootsie’s set to break ground in Waterloo

Pictured is a rendering of the future Bootsie’s restaurant, general store and bakery to be built on the former George Weber auto dealership lot off Route 3 in Waterloo. Owners hope to open by mid-August of this year. (submitted photo)

Plans for a new family style restaurant with a bakery and general store to be built off Route 3 at the northern end of Waterloo received a go-ahead from the Waterloo City Council on Monday night.

Aldermen signed an Environmental Protection Agency permit application and approved an exterior building materials request for the 7,200-square-foot development to be known as Bootsie’s during Monday’s council meeting.

“We’re really excited to get started,” Bootsie’s investor David Spalding told the Republic-Times.

David and his wife, Penny Spalding, of Waterloo, are investors in the project along with Jerry Sickmeier of Waterloo, James and Rita Smugala of St. Louis County, and Bradley Schaefer of Imperial, Mo.

The Smugalas own multiple Smugala’s Pizza Pub locations in Missouri.

The 60-foot-by-120-foot building will be constructed on the concrete slab at 1365 State Route 3 in Waterloo that used to serve as an automobile lot for George Weber Chevrolet, which closed in late 2013. Quality Collision purchased the dealership building in 2014 and still operates out of there.

Spalding said the investors hope to decide a date to break ground on the project over the next couple of weeks, with an anticipated mid-August opening.

Once completed, Bootsie’s will be a full-service restaurant that can seat about 200 with a full-service bakery and general store. Ice cream will be sold in the bakery along with baked goods, Spalding said.

“Most of us live here in Waterloo and there is a need for a restaurant with family style food and a bakery,” Spalding said about the decision to bring this project to Waterloo. “This looks like a good place to start.”

Spalding said the plan is to eventually build subsequent Bootsie’s locations in Crystal City, Mo., and further south in Missouri once the Waterloo location is up and running.

Spalding praised the Waterloo city officials for being supportive of this new development.

“The city has been more than cooperative,” he said.

The bottom third of the proposed Bootsie’s building will contain real stone, with the upper portion of the exterior containing cement board product.

Spalding explained that the future restaurant’s name comes from his grandmother, Lydia Schlesing.

“She had a dog named Bootsie, and since her name was hard for the grandkids to pronounce, we called her Grandma Bootsie,” Spalding explained.

Schlesing was from Germany and her family operated a general store in south city St. Louis that sold bakery items. Many of the recipes for Schlesing’s baked goods that were sold in the general store will be brought back to life at the future Bootsie’s in Waterloo.

“That will be a nice tribute to her,” Spalding said.

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