Potter’s Pub, a staple of the East Meadow community since 1972, will shut it doors on Saturday. The announcement was posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Monday night, stating that, “After 41 years of serving the East Meadow community we will be turning our lights off forever on Sat night.”
Mike Amitrano, who has owned Potter’s Pub since 1990, said that business took a hit when, following Hurricane Sandy, he put in a claim for a loss of food and equipment but was denied by his insurance company. After that, he said, he had a deal in place to sell the restaurant, which fell through. “And then it was just one thing after another,” he said. “It was a very hard decision to make after 41 years of being open.”
Amitrano said he remains hopeful that he will sell the restaurant soon to keep it from remaining closed for long. He went on to say that his health was a factor in his decision: He is a cancer survivor, though he said he is not in “immediate danger.”
“I just want to thank the East Meadow community for 41 years of being able to serve them,” he added.
The news shocked many in the community, and by Tuesday afternoon, more than 60 comments had streamed in on the eatery’s Facebook page, as people expressed their disappointment with the news.
“It’s an East Meadow institution,” said Tom Gallagher, a past president of both the East Meadow Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce, adding that he has frequented Potter’s Pub since 1974. “I’m very saddened.”
“I hate to lose another business on Hempstead Turnpike,” said Dolores Rome, the Chamber’s current president. “Everybody’s going to be in shock.”
Potter’s Pub is not the only establishment to close recently in East Meadow. Zorn’s Chicken, on Hempstead Turnpike, never reopened after Hurricane Sandy. Hooters, also on the turnpike, closed in October. And just two weeks ago, Pathmark, on Front Street, announced that it would shut down in May. “I think the bad economy has finally hit East Meadow,” said Rome.
Richard Bivone, president of RMB Drafting, on East Meadow Avenue, and the Nassau chairman of the Long Island Business Council, said that added government regulations and increased taxes are taking a toll on small businesses. “Unless we change that, and create economic development,” he said, “it unfortunately appears that we’re going to see even more businesses closing, and that’s not good for the foundation of our economy.”
Norma Gonsalves, the presiding officer of the County Legislature and an East Meadow resident, said that the trend of business closings could have a devastating effect on homeowners. “The loss of small businesses means that the residential community is going to have to pick up the tab as far as taxes are concerned,” she said. “And that concerns me extremely.
“Store after store is being vacated,” Gonsalves continued, “and we’re at a loss as to what is happening and how we’re going to encourage business to come to the East Meadow community.”
Potter’s Pub once hosted weekly Kiwanis Club meetings as well as toy drives and other fundraisers to benefit the community. “It was a place that everybody would go,” said Bivone. “It’s disappointing because they have been an icon in our community for many years.”
“Mike and his family are wonderful people,” added Rome.
But the restaurant’s closing, Gonsalves said, is a reminder that residents need to support local businesses. “People have to realize something,” she said. “If it’s a legitimate business, then we should support it.”
“I’m very sad to see it go,” said Gallagher. “I wish I personally had visited there more. Maybe it would have made a difference.”