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Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023

Rambler’s Roost likely to close this fall

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

MIDDLE POINT — Unless a buyer steps forward before late September, the iconic Rambler’s Roost on Lincoln Highway will cease operations.

Co-owner Susie Thompson confirmed the restaurant’s pending closure on Thursday, but she said the gas station and convenience store portion of the business will remain open after September.

Kitchen equipment and fixtures will be sold in the fall, unless someone buys the Rambler’s Roost. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“It wasn’t an easy decision because I’m dedicated to this community,” Thompson explained. “I’ve been in business either here or in Middle Point for over 40 years and I care about the people, but I also care about by own health. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had little spells with my heart and other little issues, and it’s too demanding.”

“It requires that I’m going to get dressed and run out here every minute of the day and night to keep it open, and I’ve done that for almost 20 years. I just think it’s time for me to step back and retire.”

The Rambler’s Roost has been on the market since early 2016, and the asking price has been reduced more than once. The building itself has been in use since 1951, when it was known as Conrad’s. Thompson and Penny “PJ” Burnett purchased the business in 2001 and turned it into a 24 hour, seven day a week, 365 day a year operation,

Thompson stressed that the business is doing well financially, and she added that if the restaurant doesn’t sell by September 29, she and Burnett will expand the gas station and convenience store.

“We would have a month of getting ready for a liquidation sale, which would be the booths, all the commercial equipment, stoves and refrigerators would be sold and then we hope we could expand the convenience store and make it larger,” Thompson said. “It just won’t be so labor intensive and I won’t have to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Thompson added without the restaurant, it’s possible the gas station won’t be open 24 hours a day.

“Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., I don’t believe we can generate enough to pay someone $10 an hour,” Thompson stated.

She also said despite those plans, she’d love to have someone come forward and purchase the entire business.

“We would be tickled to death to sell it because I’d love to see the restaurant stay open,” Thompson said. “My heart and soul is in the restaurant.”

POSTED: 06/28/19 at 5:12 am. FILED UNDER: News