Hobie’s Cafe and Pub has been serving up popular soups, sandwiches and salads to the East Lansing community for 49 years. Ever since news got out last week that they’re closing, customers have been clamoring to get it one last time.
Dozens of customers having lunch at Hobie's Monday told WKAR they would miss the food, the people, and the atmosphere. Customers Cheri Arning and Sherry Hunt have been going to Hobie's since they were MSU students in the seventies.
"When we saw that it was closing we decided we needed one more lunch here," says Hunt.
“It's been a lot busier than it's ever been in my five years of being here,” says owner Jane Kleiman. She has been going nonstop the last few days, serving customers and making deliveries. “A lot of support, feel a lot of love, and I wish it could have been like this forever. We probably could have stayed in business.”
Kleiman says that closing the restaurant wasn’t necessarily what they wanted.
“The lease was up for renewal, the building is 75 or 80 years old, and just needs a lot of repairs. So we didn't renew the lease when it happened and then someone else took over that lease. So that kinda made our decision for us.”
Assistant Manager Jacob Nevin reads an old news article about Hobie’s that explains how it got its name.
“The innovative show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis charmed television audiences across the nation, at the same time a sandwich style called the hoagie was drawing lunch crowds up and down the eastern seaboard. So, former Lansingite Ernie St. Pierre combined the sounds 'hoagie' and 'Dobie' to come up with 'Hobie' as the name of the new restaurant on Trowbridge Road East Lansing.”
Nevin shares his reaction to the news that they are closing.
“So my first thought when I heard was 'well this is really disappointing,' not just because I'm gonna be looking for other work at this time, but also because this place has been an East Lansing tradition. It's been so affiliated with the school, especially with the sports program. I mean there's posters of pretty much every sports program that Michigan State has surrounding me right now. And it's 49 years, next year is the 50th year and now where are we gonna be? I don't know.”
But Kleiman says it might not be the end of the road for Hobie’s.
“Now with all the support and people interested again, we are looking to relocate. We would like to own our own building so then you can kinda control more of those issues, and we're looking within a couple of miles of where we are now.”
She’s focusing on the positive, and hoping for the best.
“We're just thankful that we've had this opportunity to serve the community because it's been a blast.”
Hobie’s last day will be December 30th, 2017.