Founded in 1884, it is one of the oldest continually running businesses in Boone County. The nationally-acclaimed eatery and billiards hall is located at 110 South 9th street in downtown Columbia.
The present location is its sixth in the downtown area since its founding and its home since about 1928. A move some have suggested begun in 1926, it moved across the street from its location on the second floor of the old Virginia Building.
Booches got its name because its original owner, Paul Blucher Venable, was nicknamed “Booch” as a child by the future poet Eugene Fields.
From the beginning in 1884, beyond Booche’s death and through WWII, Booches was primarily a student hangout. But the repeal of prohibition in the ‘30s and the return of GIs in the mid-’40s changed the feel of Booches. Older locals, including businessmen, started to mix in with the students, giving the place the feel of a neighborhood bar. However, women were not allowed entrance until the 1970s.
Jerry Dethrow, Robert Rappold and Mick Jabbour purchased the billiards hall in 1976 and would sell it to current owners Rick Robertson and Charlie Kurre in 2009. All five men have worked hard to maintain Booches old-time and authentic atmosphere. Booches has three full-sized pool tables, two snooker tables, and one billiard table (no pockets) for three cushion billiards play. Booches burgers, which are served on wax paper, were named one of the top ten burgers in America by USA Today in 2000. In 2005, Jerry Shriver of USA Today included Booches’ hamburger on the list of top 25 dishes from his “Down-home Dining” project and Booches continues to attract national attention to Columbia and Boone County today.