Saying goodbye

First Posted: 3/7/2012

Economic downturn is one factor that led to the closing of two area eateries: Summit Diner and Amici.

A number of loyal customers met with disappointment early last week after finding their favorite diner no longer open for business.

Summit Diner, located at 108 South State St., Clarks Summit, closed its doors permanently Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26.

“It was a number of reasons, three years ago…my business started to tail off a little bit, because of the economy,” said owner Stephen Seamon.

The dip in business, combined with some family matters Seamon had to attend to led to him beginning to explore the idea of closing the diner. The owner of the business, not the building, Seamon said he was given an opportunity to get out of his lease and decided to take it.

“That’s why it kind of abruptly came on Sunday,” said Seamon of the closing.

In the early 1990s, Seamon was a cook at the diner, which was voted “Best Diner” for 2008, 2009 and 2011 in The Abington Journal’s Best of The Abingtons readers’ poll.

After buying into Blue Bird Diner in 1996, he left Summit Diner for a few years until its previous owner, Ed Shermansky, was ready to retire and asked Seamon if he would be interested in taking over.

Seamon became the sole owner in September, 2002.

Due to the abrupt closure, the diner staff did not get an opportunity to say goodbye to some customers. But Seamon, along with members of his staff, were packing up the diner last week and had a chance to talk to some who stopped by and had not heard news of the closure.

“The last two days they’ve been stopping by,” said Seamon.

“We had good customers, that’s one thing. It’s (the closing is) not because of the customers. The people are wonderful. Hopefully I’ll see them down the road somewhere sometime.”

The building will not remain vacant too long. A sign posted March 1 on the front of the building announced that Silver Spoon Diner will be moving into the location.

“We’re looking forward to someone new opening, but it’s sad to see it happen at one of our area’s most beloved institutions,” said Barry Kaplan. Kaplan, the owner of downtown business Everything Natural, said the diner has been a topic of conversation among many in the community who have expressed their sadness over its closure.

Silver Spoon Diner is owned by Dimitri and Elaine Zaharopoulos and Debbie Zullo. Zullo said the three are hoping to have the diner open sometime in April.

The same economic outlook led owners of another Clarks Summit establishment to sell . But they have an opportunity to give notice to patrons of more than two decades to allow them time to get used to the idea.

Owners at Amici Restaurant, located at 1300 Morgan Highway, Clarks Summit, have announced they will close March 18.

Childhood friends, and owners Woody Wilson, Mark Massetti, Sean Scanlon, John and Alice Vanston, began the business in 1987 after working in restaurants together for years prior.

The decision to close came after the group received an offer from a party interested in purchasing the property. “The last few years with the economy has slowed us down… and that’s why we took advantage of this opportunity now,” said Massetti.

Massetti and Wilson said they couldn’t disclose new owners or their type of business, but did say the building was going to be torn down.

Built in the early 1960s, the former Old Country Inn was originally owned by the Dettore Family. The restaurant was vacant for about a year before it became Amici.

The restaurant was immediately embraced by the community. “It took off like wildfire,” said Massetti. “We’ve been successful since we opened the door, luckily,” added Wilson.

That success is a direct result of loyal customers, and both men said the customers are going to be what they miss the most.

“We’re here 25 years, so we have quite a clientele base,” said Massetti.

“We’ve watched families grow, generations of families. When people first started coming here they were bringing their kids, and now their kids are bringing their kids. It’s amazing,” said Wilson.

The two said since the news broke of the restaurant’s closing they’ve been busy with a number of patrons looking to get one last meal before it’s too late and expect it to continue up until their final weekend.

“That weekend is really going to be the last hurrah,” said Wilson.

The owners have a number of activities planned for the final weekend, including a performance by Music for Models March 16, and pianist Chris Grantz March 17.

The restaurant will be closed, but the bar will be open March 18 so the owners can say their goodbyes. For details, call 586.3000.

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