Ron Giger, owner of Ron’s Redbird Cafe, graduated from Girard High School in 1964. The restaurant he owns now was a restaurant then called Melody Inn when he was in school. A restaurant has been at that location for a while, but has gone through several name changes.
Giger bought the restaurant in 1994, he said. His mother, who passed away several years ago, got him involved with it. She lived in Girard. He has been involved in several different enterprises in Kansas, Nebraska, and Kentucky. When he moved back to Springfield, his mother knew that the restaurant went up for sale and told him to buy it.
The previous owner was in a position where he needed to sell the restaurant, so Giger bought it. His mother was very involved with the restaurant when it opened, doing the bookkeeping. “She became a fixture,” Giger said. “She was here everyday even when I wasn’t. People got to know her very well.”
Since her passing, Giger has picked up all of her responsibilities. He said that he spends more time doing paperwork, between taxes and reports, than he does out in the restaurant.
He said that he has ties in Springfield, so he needs to stay there. One of those ties is a foster son that is in Sangamon County. He hopes to someday adopt him as his own, but first he has many health issues that need to be resolved before doing so. The boy has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing developmental and intellectual delays.
Working at the restaurant, Giger said he still sees a lot of people he went to school with. He will also see some people at the festival days this weekend. “This is the only way I’d get to see them,” he said.
Giger was president of the Chamber of Commerce for six years. At first, there was about four people who met at City Hall. Giger decided to move the meeting to his restaurant and get sponsors who would provide food. They met for breakfast. The attendance went from about four to 15 or 17, increasing dramatically. Although Giger is no longer president, the Chamber still holds the breakfasts that he thought of at different places like Doc’s Soda Fountain and the nursing home, for example.
In addition to running the restaurant, he is also involved in a softball team in Springfield. He has also coached softball and may begin coaching again.
When he graduated high school, he went to the University of Missouri at Rolla, an engineering school. He also took classes at what is now called Lincoln Land Community College. “Sometimes you follow the path that’s in front of you, and it’s not always how you envisioned,” he said about his transition from engineering to business.
Giger said that they recently expanded the hours of Ron’s Redbird Cafe. They used to close everyday at two p.m. Now, Wednesday and Thursday they stay open until eight p.m., and Friday and Saturday they stay open until nine p.m. They also have added a beer and wine menu as well as a game machine in the back of the restaurant.
Source: Meet Ron Giger, Owner of Ron’s Redbird Cafe Meet Ron Giger, Owner of Ron’s Redbird Cafe
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