I eat a Booch Burger about once a year. That’s more often than I went when I lived in Columbia for three years. In the 50s, those of my gender were not allowed in the legendary water hole, that’s been around since 1884. Proper young women did not go to such places.
But times have changed. Since I’m no longer “proper” or a young woman, I dropped by the 9th Street billiard hall this week for a Booche Burger and beverage. Last year I posted a brief history of Booches, when I made my annual pilgrimage to the Tiger tap room. Those who revere tradition, will be happy to know the place still has the feel of a man cave. The only change I’ve noticed in recent years is the addition of two flat-screen televisions.
Hamburgers still sizzle on the grill in the front window. As always, the slider-size burgers are slaked in mustard, pickles and onions and served atop a small square of waxed paper. Walls still display sports memorabilia, an old pay phone, and rows of pool sticks.
Wander past the six pool tables and you’ll find the toilets located in two closets with a cold water sink hanging on the outer wall.
And speaking of cold, don’t try to pay with anything but cold cash. A sign in the window reads: “No smoking, no credit, no spitting, no cursing, no lying (fish stories exempted).”
The place could definitely use a woman’s touch, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.
Today expect to see as many locals, alumni and families as you do students chowing down on Booches’ award-winning burgers. Owners say they strive for “consistency and quality.”
That’s not a bad example to set in a college town.