Midway Diner serves last meal
By ELICIA MAILHIOT
Correspondent | August 19,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
Midway Diner's Stacy Ianni delivers a Belgian Waffle to the counter during the restaurant's final hours on Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon marked the end of a 65-year-old landmark in Rutland. The Midway Diner served its last breakfast and lunch, bidding farewell to the many loyal customers who have walked through the doors over the years.
Two longtime waitresses shared the day with the people whose orders they’ve come to know by heart before the restaurant closed for good at 3 p.m.
Last Monday, Midway’s co-owner John Valente announced that a deal had been reached with businessman Sam Handy, and the property, located at 120 South Main St., would open its doors in November as an International House of Pancakes, or IHOP.
Despite nearly closing the business deal late last year, the news came as a shock to both employees and locals who flocked to the eatery.
Many patrons Sunday questioned the future of the employees, like Stacy Ianni. She said she and some of the restaurant’s 15 employees are going to put an application in, but the future is unknown. She described her emotions of the last week following the announcement to a couple and their son.
“It’s been horrible saying goodbye to people,” she said. “It’s been a long week.”
The restaurant has been busy all week with locals coming in and phoning to say their goodbyes.
Ianni answered the phone, grabbed a menu, and proceeded to write a note on the front for a customer who would be coming in shortly, ensuring him “there’s always room at our counter for you.”
Rumors echoed throughout the building, bouncing off the teal walls about the future of the building itself. Ianni and her co-worker have heard they are going to keep the interior similar, but with seating for 165 individuals, it may be unrealistic. Patrons questioned if there would be a full demolition of the establishment; no one on the Midway staff knows for sure.
Ianni encouraged customers to take an old menu as a keepsake on their way out, reminiscing about favorite dishes ... from the liver and onions to the French fries with gravy.
The diner is one of the city’s oldest and most successful establishments. Its formula for success has always been good food, good service and pleasant workers.
Sunday was no different. Although employees, like Ianni, are unsure of what the future months bring, one thing is for sure: They were happy to share one last meal with the loyal customers who have come to the diner for decades.