MIDDLE POINT — The diner at Rambler’s Roost, a 24-hour diner and truck stop on Lincoln Highway that has been a part of the Middle Point community for 68 years, is slated to close this year.
“It’s just time,” said owner Susan Thompson, who will retire alongside her business partner Penny “P.J.” Burnett when the diner closes this summer.
The truck stop and diner, formerly known as Conrad’s, was founded by the Conrad family in 1951 and was later purchased by Thompson and Burnett in 2000. The two have kept the place open 24 hours a day, seven days a week since taking over, Thompson recalled in an interview with The Lima News.
The gas station and convenience store portion of the truck stop are expected to remain open after the diner closes, as Thompson said it’s less labor intensive. But Rambler’s Roost is the “heart and soul” of the operation.
“We’re still old-fashioned. We make hamburger patties from fresh hamburger,” said Thompson, who pointed to the diner’s all-day breakfast menu as another popular feature. “You can get sausage gravy at 2 in the afternoon or eggs and bacon at 3 in the morning.”
Thompson and Burnett have been trying to sell the property for several years as the two pursue retirement. Thompson sees closing the diner as “Plan B,” a move which she hopes will make it easier to repurpose the property for prospective buyers.
A final closing date has not been set but is expected soon.
Thompson says the restaurant is still successful, having grossed about $1.17 million in sales in 2018.
“There’s just not a lot of young entrepreneurs that want to be dedicated to their own business anymore,” she said. “We’re hoping to repurpose the building once the restaurant closes down. It’s been in our community since (for)ever.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.