'The legacy will always live on'

Bee residents reflect on closing of institution

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After 46 years of business in Bee, Lou and Mary Anne’s Bar closed its doors on July 11.

 People from all over would come down to Bee to enjoy the famous Friday fish fries paired with a side of coleslaw, French fries and a piece of bread.

Kayla Luebbe, employee of Lou and Mary Anne’s Bar, has fond memories about the bar.

 “I have been going to the bar with my family ever since I can remember,” Luebbe said. “Only living a block and a half away from the bar would allow me to ride my bike up to the bar and get a soda and talk to Lou. I will always remember Lou letting us open up the pop cooler and get the drinks ourselves. That was such a cool experience.”

Luebbe, 19, said the bar was an important landmark for both residents and travelers.

“Lou and Mary Anne’s has brought so many people into town,” Luebbe said. “When I go to college and tell people where I’m from, they always know where Bee is because of the fish fry Fridays. Lou and Mary Anne always made everyone feel like family, and that’s truly something that not every bar can do.”

Luebbe mentioned that not only is she sad about the bar closing, many others in Bee are as well.

“I can’t remember a time when the bar wasn’t open, so that will definitely be a change,” Luebbe said. “Lou and Mary Anne are gone, but the legacy of the bar will always live on. I have also loved getting to know Lou’s family during the summer, and even though the bar is closing, I know that all of the friendships and memories that were made here will live on.

Deedee Wilkinson, a resident of Seward, was able to visit Lou and Mary Anne’s for one of their final fish fries.

“I’ve been going to Lou and Mary Anne’s for about 25 years now, so there was no way I was missing out on one final chance to go,” Wilkinson said. “I work for Region V, and we have been taking a group of our residents to the fish fries for the 21 years that I have worked there.”

Wilkinson emphasized how important Lou Dart was to the bar.

“Lou was always such a friendly man. He would always come to our table and shake everyone’s hand,” Wilkinson said. “He would never treat any of the people that we worked with any different, and that’s exactly what we wanted. I also remember a time that a big group of us came in to the restaurant one day, and he paid for our meal. We made sure to leave him really big tips that day.”

Being a long time customer of the bar, Wilkinson is sad to see the bar go.

“Not only am I sad about the bar, I’m still sad about the passing of Lou,” Wilkinson said. “I miss seeing and talking to him. Every time he would stop in the grocery store that I worked at in high school, he would always ask how I was doing. Lou was about as genuine as they come, and him and his bar are truly going to be missed.”

Lois Hansen, another long time customer of the bar, said the bar was special because of the role Lou and Mary Anne played in its operation.

“Lou always made time to come and sit down at your table and talk with you, even if they were busy,” Hansen said. “I also remember one time when our food was slow to get out, Lou bought all of our drinks to apologize for the wait. Lou and Mary Anne always made you feel at home and that is what I really missed most about them. Growing up going to this bar has been a great experience.”

Although the bar has closed, Hansen said that it has done a lot of great things for the town of Bee.

“The bar really put Bee on the map,” Hansen said. “I’m really going to miss the amazing fish and atmosphere that the bar had.”

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