CHICOPEE – As residents flocked into Petros Breakfast & Lunch for a final stack of blueberry pancakes or a plate of scrambled eggs, they talked about the weekly Sunday breakfasts, a first date and regular meetings with friends in the popular restaurant.
At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Petros Mirisis served his last meal at the business he has owned for over a decade. All morning people packed the restaurant, outside tables, and ordered take out for their last chance to eat at what many called their favorite breakfast spot.
“It’s sad. It’s very sad,” said Matthew Lawrence. “Their food is great. It seems like small businesses make the best breakfasts and lunches.”
Lawrence, whose home is on the South Hadley and Chicopee line, said his girlfriend is working her third shift. When she finished Sunday morning, the two made a habit of heading to Petros where he usually orders two eggs, hash browns, toast, and orange juice.
“I have been coming here every Sunday for three months,” he said.
Like all restaurateurs, Mirisis said he had to adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic stop, but her staff were successful with take out orders and then opened up half a dozen tables for alfresco dining on the sidewalk and in the parking lot once cleared. Soon after, he was also able to move indoors after changing tables to allow for social distancing.
“It has nothing to do with the pandemic,” Mirisis said as he scrambled to flip pancakes and grill bacon.
Instead, it was just time to do something new. Mirisis, who also sold the ice cream company he and his wife started in 2016, said he plans a new career in wholesale seafood.
“It was 10 wonderful years and I would like to thank the city of Chicopée for its support,” he said.
Suzanne Blake lives in the Front Street neighborhood and said she and her now-engaged fiancee had lunch in Petros on their first date.
“They are always busy,” she said, adding that her family often went to restaurants early in the morning.
Because it was so crowded, she and her friend Tiffany Moczydlowski, who now lives in West Springfield, decided to order take out for their last meal in Petros on Sunday.
Moczydlowski said corned beef omelets are her favorite and that she also loves kielbasa that few other places offer. “They have certainly served the community well.”
Probably two or three times a week, Bill Wood said he goes to Petros for ham and hash browns. While eggs just aren’t his thing, he said he appreciated that Mirisis started serving fish and chips, scallops and other seafood dishes on Friday nights during Lent.
He said he understands that a new owner will take over the restaurant and hopes the person doesn’t change the place too much.
“It’s sad to see him go. Their prices are right and their food is great, ”said Wood, who lives near the restaurant. “The staff are friendly and they really hustle each other.”