After being in business for more than 75 years, a Rochester diner closed its doors for good on Wednesday. Al's Stand, a fixture in northwest Rochester since 1936, has served its final customer. YNN's Mike Hedeen caught up with some regulars during the restaurant's last lunch hour.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- There was a large crowd for lunch at Al's Stand Wednesday. Since it was the last day of business for the local diner, there was no guarantee that all customers would be served.
"The plan today is to cook until we're out of food but stay open for anybody that wants to come down and just say goodbye to Al's," said Joe Lucchese, Al's Stand.
For more than 75 years, Al's has been a fixture in the area around Jefferson High School. But those running the restaurant say it's been difficult to keep it going.
"I have a lawsuit with a family member… We've been fighting a battle for a couple of years now and I just can't continue to fight the battle," said Lucchese.
According to a family attorney, the lawsuit is over who is the rightful owner of the restaurant.
Back in the day, Al's was a hangout for Jefferson High School students. Many of them would come there during their lunch hour. And they were back on the final day of business remembering those good old days.
Like Frank and Guane Umbrino. They were back for one last time, sitting in the same booth where they met and became high school sweethearts and then husband and wife.
"I looked at her and said 'that's the girl I'm going to marry' and that's true. And I did, 44 years ago," said Frank Umbrino, an Al's customer.
"And 44 years, we're still together," said Guane Umbrino.
They've been regulars ever since the day they met and have fond memories of Al's.
"The good times, the friends, it's not the same," said Guane.
Most customers had similar feelings, saying they're glad they were able to pay one final visit.
"Really sad, but it was a fun place to come to when we were in high school, a fun place. We'd listen to the music, no arguing or fighting. Then we'd go back to class and our studying then come over after school for Cokes," said Mary Ellen Martin, an Al's customer.
"I feel horrible. I feel like I'm letting all these people that are here down," said Lucchese.