Butch’s River Rock Cafe will open its doors one last time this Sunday. The decision to close was a tough one for the owners, but after the loss of Kim “Butch” Bittle and the effects of the pandemic, it seemed like the right move to make.
“It’s been very hard losing Butch,” owner and wife of Butch Melissa Waier-Bittle said. “And it’s not just the family who’s been feeling the loss. It’s the customers, too.”
Butch died April 19, and the restaurant hadn’t been the same since.
“You know, last year was like the perfect storm. Between the pandemic and losing him, we just couldn’t make it work anymore,” she said. “Like I said on Facebook, it’s the end of an era.”
For many customers, Butch’s River Rock Cafe has been a place for gathering and good food, and the closing of the Oakland Mills restaurant is devastating.
“We’re sad about it closing down, a bit depressed to be honest,” Mike and Dawn Kaczinski said. “We loved taking our grandson here for breakfast, and he was Butch’s buddy.”
“I still remember the first time we brought him here,” Mike said. “Dawn was going to split a burger with our grandson, and just because, Butch make the burger patty into a bearpaw for our grandson. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Since the post about Butch’s closing down, Melissa Waier-Bittle has seen plenty of public support, both on Facebook and customers coming in for one more meal.
“We are so grateful and tremendously blessed with this community,” she said. “This restaurant was my husband’s dream, and the support we received from the community has been truly great.”
It’s unsure what exactly will happen to the restaurant after closing down. Melissa Waier-Bittle mentioned that Butch’s will be sold to settle his estate, but what comes after is unknown.
“I just wanted to thank the community for all the years of support,” she said. “Without all of you, none of this would have been possible.”