Future of Suzie Q Cafe uncertain

(ABC 6 News) – One popular Mason City Restaurant has been closed since April, The Suzie Q Cafe.

The business is right next to the Kirk Apartments, which was destroyed by a Fire in April and was demolished soon after.

They hope to reopen, but a lot of work has to be done to make sure that happens.

“Boy if you’re hungry, that’s a good sandwich,” Mason City resident Mike Halloran said. “I’d take my earnings and go buy a pork tenderloin. They were delicious with pickles and mustard, oh my gosh!”

Back in the ’60s, Mike hit the streets trying to get some change as a paper boy. No matter how much money the man had, he went right to his favorite place.

Thinking of the good old days brings a smile to his face.

“I’m about to breakout into song in a minute,” Halloran said.

But that excitement of thinking of the Valentine Diner turned to sorrow.

“I just wish they would reopen as is, but that’s not going to happen I guess, that’s too bad,” Halloran said.

Andrew Balduf, a manager at Suzie Q’s, loves the little diner. He spent almost two years cooking here.

But as Andrew remembers the good old days, the clock is ticking. Management needs to decide what to do with this space.

“The day they started tearing the building down we got a call that said your utilities go through the Kirk. You’re not going to be able to operate through that anymore,” Balduf said.

All that’s left of the Kirk Apartments is a grass field.

New life is beginning to grow, but not for Suzie Q’s.

Andrew says they either have to tap into the utility lines or move the building entirely to a new spot. Both are expensive to do.

Especially after the bills started to add up after renovations were completed right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Management has their hands tied, wondering what to do next. One option they’re considering is to sell to new owners.

“We want to see it in good hands. We want to see it in Mason City, in perpetuity forever,” Balduf said.

And the city plans to help them in any way they can.

“It’s a tough period for them. We’ll do what we can to help them get back open,” Aaron Burnett, City Administrator for the City of Mason City said.

“I’d love to keep cooking, and I’d like to keep cooking here,” Balduf said.

While the door remains locked for some time, there’s hope.

Hope for creating more memories that made this place special.

“It’s a historical magical little place,” Halloran said.

Suzie Q’s is asking for patience during this time and well wishes for reopening.

They say if you’d like to donate to the United Way of North Central Iowa, that money goes a long way and helps the people that were displaced by the Kirk Apartments Fire.

That link can be viewed here.

For more information on Suzie Q’s, visit this link.