Rumor Of Cafe Closing Untrue

The spring and summer Missouri River flooding has created a big dilemma for a downtown business.

Due to high flood waters, there has been a perception that Rick's Café Boatyard is underwater.

Those rumors are not true. The cafe is open and so is the parking.

That's not the only perplexing problem facing the business.

Watching the river flow has become a favorite past time for individuals, couples and families.

"Yeah, we come here and we look and we tell our kids this is what nature can do," Lilin Calisto said.

But as the river level has noticeably dropped here so has the foot traffic.

Fewer people are stopping at Rick's boat yard.

Rick's Cafe Boatyard Events Coordinator Kari Kaplan said it's had a devastating effect on the restaurant.

"We thought it was going to be one of the best summers we've ever had here at Rick's," she said. "And its been totally the opposite."

Tim and Paige Riley brought Tim's parents Walt and Jane Riley here for lunch.

There was no waiting.

"We had no trouble getting in," Tim said. "It's open," Paige said. "No problems. Roads are fine."

But for some reason, many in Omaha don't know that.

"I think people are afraid to come down because they didn't think they were dry," Customer Tim Beacher said. "They thought maybe they were under water and I had a conversation with one of the receptionists and she shared those same thoughts."

Rick's Hostess Liz Clark fields several calls daily from people asking if Rick's is open.

"This lady called this morning and she said 'I heard that you're closed for five days,' and I said 'where did you hear that' and she said 'I just heard it because you've got water on the road' and I said absolutely not," she said.

The rumor of Rick's closing has cost the restaurant significantly financially.

Workers also decided to leave.

"Because we didn't have the volume and weren't making the money they needed to support themselves," Kaplan said.

And those that do venture down Riverview Drive don't stay long.

All it takes is a road closed sign.

"Everybody just turns and leaves thinking that automatically we're closed without investigating it," Kaplan said.

Coupled with that problem, since Memorial Day, events that would have been held at the landing outside Rick's have been cancelled.

It make people wonder if the business will remain afloat.

"It's not going to close," Kaplan said. "We stay optimistic, but we look at each other and we are worried."

"It's just like we are sinking with the ship and we have our white flag and we are waving it and nobody knows we're here," Kaplan said.

At least Tim Riley's parents know Rick's is open.

"Oh, it was very good," Jane Riley said. "I'm glad I had the opportunity to come."

Rick's cafe Boatyard is hosting some events of interest over the holiday weekend.

On September 1, it's 'Ladies Night Out' complete with dinner and vendors pampering female guests with wines, beauty seminars an a spa.

On September 2, it's a dinner theater called "Murder at the Calumet Social Club" set in 1920s Chicago.

The Lewis & Clark landing, which is the public area adjacent to the restaurant, will be closed the rest of the season.

Just down stream from Rick's café Boatyard, Ameristar and Harrah's casinos also appear to have an issue with public perception that they have been affected by the river flooding.

Like Rick's, both assure the public they're open.

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