Johnny Smith’s mother was a waitress here at one time, he said, and when he heard it was closing he jumped in his car and made the 17-hour trip from his home in Wisconsin. “This place is the epitome of the hometown bar,” he said.
“It’s going to be missed,” said Sandra Trayler, who has been coming since 1993.
“My mom’s husband Moe started it,” said Nadia Baker, bartender at the final night.
Moe died of cancer in 2014 but the family kept it going, and then the Covid pandemic came and the customers were temporarily missing, and for this small business, that was the final straw.
“Covid was our biggest hit,” Baker said. It was covid and a Virginia tax bill that tag-teamed the place and they just decided it was too tough to keep the doors open.
Years ago, Moe’s lost some needed traffic in Springfield when the Springfield Interchange project came through and created a few flyovers that left Moe’s on a part of Backlick that did not see a lot of through traffic. Once Backlick Road was split and a new bridge went in, Moe’s and the other stores on the older strip centers didn’t get the customers they needed. This was what Springfield looked like in the early 1980s. “Before the Mixing Bowl,” one patron said.
“It was hard for people to get to us,” Tammy Dunbar said.
Locals knew the Springfield Interchange as the “mixing bowl,” and Moe’s was once known as just Peyton Place. Moe and Mina got married in the side room, some of the current customers came there with their parents to get a burger or their famous roasted chicken.
There is controversy about their best meal though: Is it the roasted chicken or broasted chicken? They couldn’t decide, but “we’re the only place I know that has it,” Dunbar said.
Back in September 1995, Dunbar saw the Moe’s employment ad in the Springfield Connection and came in to fill out the application.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
As the night wore on, somebody reached up and started taking down the official Moe’s clock over a doorway and that got the attention of Nadia Baker behind the bar, who made him put it back up.
“We’re not done yet,” she shouted, and went back to mixing drinks. Some things are timeless at Moe’s.