Hinckley will be losing a landmark business. Cassidy’s Restaurant owners, the Welcher family, have made the difficult decision to close their doors effective Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Cassidy’s Restaurant came to Hinckley with Mr. and Mrs. Fred Clark around 1954 and was originally located on Highway 61 in downtown Hinckley. In April of 1964 the Clarks made the decision to build a half million dollar restaurant and motel near the newly constructed interstate. According to Sybil Welcher, the Twin Cities newspapers called it “Fred’s Folly.” They never imagined a restaurant in the middle of nowhere would be able to survive. However, it soon became known as the “Freeway’s First and Finest.”
Willard Welcher and Edmund Winker had been friends for many years having worked together at other establishments before Willard joined the Cassidy’s family. On Jan. 1, 1970, the Clarks sold the restaurant to Welcher and Winkler. Then sometime in the 1980s, Winkler sold his stake in the restaurant to Willard and family.
Willard, his wife Sybil and their children moved to Hinckley shortly after he began working for Cassidy’s. “Back when I was a young chick,” Sybil said. “There are so many good memories over the years. I truly believe that God blessed us well to have a business like this for nearly 50 years.”
One of her favorite memories was when she had received a traffic violation and had to go to court. “It was close to my birthday,” Sybil recalled. Some of their regular customers came in that morning with a birthday cake to “cheer her up.”
“They told me to cut the cake,” she continued. “So I did, and inside they had baked a file, in case court didn’t go my way,” Sybil said with a laugh.
Over the years they made some changes. They changed the dining room from a formal atmosphere to the current informal family style, they added the solarium and, of course, the famous salad bar. The food was always homemade and most of the bread recipes were passed down from Willard’s grandparents.
“I want to say thank you to all of our loyal employees and customers we have had over the years,” said Sybil. “Thank you all for 50 years of wonderful memories.”
One last thing that Sybil wanted to make sure people knew was they will honor any gift certificates still out there up until their last day. Cassidy’s Restaurant is definitely an institution in Hinckley and will be sorely missed by the whole community.