A landmark diner in downtown Hobart where patrons are greeted as “my friend” or by name closes at the end of the month.
People have been eating omelettes, skillets, Monte Cristo sandwiches, triple decker clubs and homemade chili at The Bright Spot at 322 Main St. for 36 years. It was the kind of place where customers had a favorite booth or might come in and strum an acoustic guitar to entertain the breakfast crowd.
But the owners George Fitusis, 84, and Angie Fitusis, 74, are ready to retire. They tried to find a buyer for the restaurant they opened in 1980, but haven’t had any luck yet
“With much love and appreciation for the Hobart and NW Indiana community we are ending this era of our lives,” they posted on Facebook. “Serving for over 40 years... Starting with Abbott’s Restaurant, watching generations of families raising their children as we have raised our four daughters and their families as well. This is a bittersweet time for us but we are looking forward to retiring and enjoying the last years of our lives. Our hearts will always be with you all.”
The Bright Spot diner will close on Sunday, and the Fitusises will go on vacation.
“We met a lot of very nice people,” George Fitusis said. “We had a lot of regulars. We think they liked the food and of course the prices.”
Regulars included Ron Jackson, who stood in front of the place in a tuxedo and top hat every Mother’s Day for a decade, handing each mom a carnation in memory of his late mother. The old-school eatery had a vintage lunch counter and boasted about having the “best coffee in town.” Wait staff dressed up for Halloween and other holidays.
George Fitusis was a Greek immigrant who opened the restaurant in storefronts that formerly housed a law office, newspaper stand and barbershop. It expanded a few times over the years.
“We have a lot of memories,” he said. “We raised our kids here. Since we said we’d close, customers are telling us they’re very sorry to see us go.”
They still hope to sell the property, which includes six apartments upstairs. But mostly, they’re looking forward to finally getting some rest after a lifetime of running a business.