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American Pie shuts down

February 5, 2009

A new eatery called River Falls Family Restaurant is coming to 702 N. Main St. It will fill the space left by American Pie Pizza, which closed Dec. 21.

The restaurant will have a more family-friendly atmosphere than its predecessor and will open its doors in March, manager Bardhyl Shabani said.

Shabani said he is currently replacing the chairs, tables, booths and carpet. The walls will be repainted and decorated with pictures, and a new drop ceiling put in. Other projects include taking out the bar and installing new equipment in the kitchen.

Shabani, whose family emigrated from Macedonia, said the food would be “a mixture of America and Greece…The menu is going to be family home-cooked meals, with lots of specials every day.”

The previous business, Minneapolis-based American Pie Pizza, used the location since 2005. It came under new management in July 2008, but closed five months later. The owner of the property, Randy Cudd, said the economy was definitely a factor.

“[The new manager] wasn’t making enough to keep the doors open,” Cudd said.

Cudd also owns some rental properties and Char’s Family Hair Care in River Falls. A series of other restaurants had used the property before it was American Pie, Cudd said.

“One was called E Street,” Cudd said (named after the E Street Band). “Prior to that it had been an Ember’s, and prior to that it had been a Country Kitchen…I believe it was [opened in] 1969.”

As its name suggests, the newest restaurant will focus more on families than the college crowd.

Junior Tha Cha, who is majoring in horticulture, said he did not know how well River Falls Family Restaurant would do.

“That’s a tough one right there,” Cha said. “I think half the town is college students, isn’t it? But I hope [the restaurant] does well.”

Senior and political science major Allison West said she had eaten at American Pie quite a few times, and had friends who worked there.

“I really liked it the way it was, to tell you the truth,” West said. “I guess it would be nice to have a restaurant that’s family-oriented, but I know a lot of freshmen who tended to go in there quite a bit.”

West also said she was not sure why American Pie closed, but that it happened rather suddenly and the location may have had something to do with it.

“[The last manager] kind of picked up and left everything…took the TVs and all. That’s just what I heard, though,” West said. “I think also the location has some bearing. It’s stuck in between the Cash Advance and the [Associated] Bank.”

Shabani expressed confidence that River Falls Family Restaurant would succeed, and the location would suit them well.

“It’s right on the main drive, with cars going in and out,” Shabani said. “Based on the quality of our food and our service, I think we can make it there.”

Shabani lives in Menomonie, Wis., where he also runs Menomonie Family Restaurant. His family owns a number of other restaurants in the upper Midwest, with about 15 in Wisconsin alone.