Ernie's Restaurant's last days
Ernie's Restaurant opened in 1945. The building itself was built in 1890 and the last day of 2016 was the beginning of the end for both.
After the last day of business, a few members of the Ernie's Restaurant family continued to go to work 5 days a week for the next 10 weeks, dismantling decades of business. A crew of 7 to remove everything from the building in a little under 3 months. Ovens, tables, chairs, booths, computers, a safe, hot water heater, TV's, 72 years worth of screws and nails, a few hundred liters of alcohol... all of it.
I'd walked though this building thousands of times and spent countless hours inside of it and it had never been so photographic. Even during the move, I had my camera every day and I never felt compelled to shoot in there. And then it was empty. Looking at the photos, it almost feels like Boudoir. The building is stripped down, left naked and vulnerable.
The kitchen took the most damage. A metal scrapper hauled off all the stainless steel walls and ovens. Neither were easy to remove. After we cleared out the rest, a disaster crew had to come in to remove the old floor below the tile because of asbestos beneath.
The bar inside the lounge was cut in half and salvaged to be reinstalled at a family member's home.
The three photos above are from what was the accountant's office on the top floor. In the photo above, the hardwood floor tells a mundane yet intriguing story- 55 years worth of trips to the copier. Yes, the same accountant for all 55 years wearing down the same path every day.
Anything worth keeping was saved- signs, LED light fixtures, sinks, the bar, cameras. Everyone involved took home some piece of Ernie's to be repurposed for personal use. But, many things didn't make it to a new home. Most of the kitchen equipment and appliances weren't worth saving and they became scrap as well as a good number of tables and booths. If there had been more time to take everything out more would have gone to loyal customers but it just didn't work out that way. You can trust me when I say the building had had it. Aside from the damage it received from all us amateurs taking it apart, things were falling apart inside and out. Even knowing that the building's time had come and that there is a possibility of a new Ernie's at a different location, it's still sad to see Ernie's this way and to see it all go. But as Billy Pilgrim would say, "So it goes".