Minchow’s Food Court to close doors

By David Peck

A Lovell culinary institution will close its doors next week after 25 years in operation.

Minchow’s Food Court, which opened on East Main Street in 1997 to serve sub sandwiches, tacos, burgers and ice cream, will cease operations after being unable to hire a proper staff, owner Jim Minchow said this week.

Minchow said the timing of the closure is related to both the upcoming busy summer season and the end of the franchise contract with Blimpie.

“Our Blimpie contract ends on May 31, and we will not be renewing it,” he said.

An inability to hire a working staff was a major factor in the decision to close the restaurant, Minchow said.

“We lost the Taco John’s franchise 10 years ago, and that was a big blow, but we just don’t have enough employees to run it,” he said. “We just can’t keep going the way things have been going. We don’t have any applications at all for this summer. We’re down to nine employees now and have been as low as six at one time. Parts of the food court have had to shut down at times due to a lack of employees. Sometimes we’ve shut down early because there’s no night shift.

“To run it right we need about 20 people during the winter months and 25 during the summer.”

The decision to close wasn’t made lightly, Minchow said.

“It’s a sad day for us but also for our community,” he said. “It’s discouraging, because the community does need it.”

He said there will be no Blimpie sandwiches after May 31, next Tuesday, and the other parts of the food court will continue to operate for a few days until the supplies of hamburgers, tacos and ice cream run out.

“We will continue to handle Wilcoxson’s ice cream at Minchow’s Service and can still take special ice cream orders,” Minchow said. “We are still planning on having the Cowley Boys (for Mustang Days) on June 24. Come on down for an ice cream social and music.”

Minchow said he plans to leave the food court facilities in place for now in case someone is interested in re-opening a restaurant.

“If anyone is interested, we’ll look at it,” he said. “The equipment is all there.”

Even with the closure, Minchow expressed gratitude for customers and staff members.

“Minchow’s would like to thank our loyal customers, all the schools, the companies, the hospital and especially all of our dedicated employees present and past,” he said. “Minchow’s Service has been in business since 1953 and will continue as usual. Thank you from the Minchow family.”