Barneveld, N.Y. - Besides bacon, eggs and pancakes Saturday morning, tears were also in abundance at the Adirondack Diner & Lanes in Barneveld.
Saturday was the last day the doors would be open at the popular spot that's been open as the Adirondack Diner & Lanes since 1987. Before that, it was known as Sportsman's Lanes.
Longtime owner Fitz Hardiman has decided to retire and with it goes an era. An era where you could walk in and feel at home, whether you came to bowl, eat at the diner, or drink at the bar.
Hardiman says it was a tough decision, but he says it was simply time to retire, "Bittersweet, been here 33 years and don't really want to go out, but between COVID and my health, I have to."
Hardiman says he has had some knees issues this past year and now he has to have a knee replacement.
He's decided to sell the property and is hopeful that a sale to a local individual that is currently underway, will go through in the coming weeks.
Hardiman says the new owner is not sure what he will do with the property, but he knows it is in a prime location right on Route 12 in the heart of town and will be a popular spot whatever becomes of it.
Hardiman says another new owner was ready to come in and take over the place as a bowling alley and diner earlier this year, "We did have a deal to sell the place as is, and then COVID came. Then the buyer couldn't get the mortgage anymore because of that."
Hardiman was an avid bowler himself before he bought the property in 1987 and then after becoming the owner, he not only went out to the Brunswick headquarters in Michigan to learn how to repair the lanes himself, but he became a coach to so many young bowlers over the years and was instrumental in getting the bowling program going in the nearby Holland Patent School District. That's where the kids of one of hardiman's longtime waitresses at Adirondack Diner & Lanes, Mary Louise Ostinett, go to school, "My kids have been bowling here. I have a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old, and they've been here since they were 5. They've been bowling and he's taught them everything they know."
Tammy Hollenbeck of Barneveld has been waitressing at Adirondack Diner & Lanes since it opened in 1987.
Hollenbeck says this is a very sad day, not only for her and her co-workers, but for the community, "It's a big family, and like I said some people have been coming here the whole time so they started out young and we we're all growing older together."
Scott Van Buskirk was one of the many customers who came in to have one last meal at the place he has called a piece of home for nearly 30 years. That's how long he's been bowling in leagues at the place, "It's is a fixture of the community. Fitz is a good man and not seeing him and not seeing this place, it's not going to be the same."
Hardiman says he will stay open until 2:00 A.M. Sunday morning, to allow people to get as much open bowling in as possible, and to enjoy 'home' for a few extra hours.