CHICOPEE – As residents streamed into Petros Breakfast & Lunch for a final stack of blueberry pancakes or plate of scrambled eggs, they talked about weekly Sunday breakfasts, a first date and regular meetings with friends at the popular restaurant.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, Petros Mirisis served his last meal at the business he has owned for more than a decade. All morning people filled the restaurant, the outside tables and ordered takeout for their last chance to eat at what many called their favorite breakfast spot.
“It’s sad. It is very sad,” said Matthew Lawrence. “Their food is great. It seems it is the small businesses who do the better breakfasts and lunches.”
Lawrence, whose home sits on the South Hadley and Chicopee line, said his girlfriend works third shift. When she finishes on Sunday morning, the two have made it a habit to head to Petros where he usually orders two eggs, hash browns, toast and orange juice.
“I’ve been coming here every Sunday for three months,” he said.
Like all restaurant owners, Mirisis said he had to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown but his staff managed with takeout orders and then opened a half-dozen tables for outdoor dining on the sidewalk and in the parking lot once it was allowed. Soon after he was also able to move indoors after shifting tables to allow for social distancing.
“It has nothing to do with the pandemic,” Mirisis said as he scrambled to flip pancakes and fry bacon at the grill.
Instead, it was just time to do something new. Mirisis, who also sold the ice cream business he and his wife started in 2016, said he is planning a new career in seafood wholesaling.
“It was a great 10 years and I want to thank the city of Chicopee for their support,” he said.
Suzanne Blake lives in the neighborhood off Front Street and said she and her now-fiancée ate lunch at Petros for their first date.
“They are always busy,” she said, adding her family often went to the restaurant early in the morning.
Because it was so busy, she and her friend Tiffany Moczydlowski, who now lives in West Springfield, decided to order takeout for their last meal at Petros on Sunday.
Moczydlowski said the corned beef omelets were her favorite and she also liked the kielbasa that few other places offer. “They definitely have served the community well.”
Probably two or three times a week Bill Wood said he went to Petros for ham and hash browns. While eggs are just not his thing, he said he appreciated that Mirisis started serving fish and chips, scallops and other seafood dishes on Friday evenings during Lent.
He said he understands a new owner will be taking over the restaurant and hopes the person does not change the place too much.
“It is sad to see him go. Their prices are decent and their food is excellent,” said Wood, who lives near the restaurant. “The staff is friendly and they really hustle.”