BOISE -- After 70 years in business, a downtown Boise cafe is closing next week. Sav-On Cafe owners posted a sign on the doors saying next Friday will be the last day they'll serve up coffee and sandwiches.

The Sav-On Cafe is well-known in town. Many people might know the place just by it's location on 16th Street; most people have likely at least driven by in the last 70 years.

Another reason it's well-known was because it was the site of some controversy about seven years ago, when the state's restaurant smoking ban passed.

A private smoker's club

Clancey McCool has owned the restaurant for more than 15 of the cafe's 70 years. He made headlines in 2004 when the Clean Indoor Act passed making it illegal to smoke in restaurants. McCool devised a plan to keep ashtrays on his counters.

We became a private club at that time so we could have our customers smoke, McCool said.

For a dollar a year, customers got a membership card so when they came in to eat, they could light up a cigarette too. McCool says his revenue increased when smoking became illegal in restaurants.

The irony now is McCool explains smoking has factored into closing up, but it's not lawmakers this time. The landlord wants the cigarettes out of the building.

The landlord has asked us to stop smoking in here, so that's pretty much our clientele, so we don't quite know what to do that way, McCool said.

Economic troubles

It's just been... it's pretty tough right now out there on everybody, Owner Clancey McCool said.

McCool says although he's never made big bucks at the Sav-On, lately there's not enough cash to keep the doors open.

Mostly economic reasons. We're not making enough money to continue running the restaurant the way we would like to, McCool said.

Friday marks the end of 70 years

Although Sav-On will close on Friday, February 25th, McCool says he plans to keep on cooking.

I'll be looking into working in a different kitchen. I don't know how to get away from it. It's all I've done for 30 years! McCool said.