Sunday is sure to be a sentimental day for Farmingdale residents as they say goodbye to , a Main Street staple that is closing for good.
The old-fashioned ice cream parlor dates back to the 1900's, when it opened as Von Leesen's. Fred Bollinger took over and renamed it more than a decade ago before retiring in October 2010 and
"The decision to close is financial," Brennan said on Wednesday. "Last winter there were a lot of days we couldn’t even open. Plus a lot of other businesses in Farmingdale have went out, which has hurt."
A dining experience at Bollinger's is nostalgic, with its 50s-era decor, old style booths, a U-shaped counter and soda fountain.
"It's like eating in your mom's kitchen, it's retro, going back in time, and the food's delicious," customer Margaret Carnesi said.
Brennan and Tinisi kept the old charm, but also made strategic business decisions to sustain the restaurant, like extending hours to 4 a.m. on weekends to accomodate the Main Street bar crowds and putting specials on FourSquare.
"They didn't pan out like we hoped. We got little to no reaction," Brennan said.
The thick menu at Bollinger's includes everything from staple burgers and homemade ice cream to full meals like pulled pork, ribs, homemade cornbread, meat loaf, lasagna and chicken marsala.
"We were definitely ready for volume but just couldn’t draw traffic in this economy and couldn't keep up with a lot of the other bigger chains offering deals," Tinisi said. "Mom and pop shops just can't keep up."
Tinisi said Main Street's high vacancy rate definitely contributed and that he hopes the and other village revitalization efforts can help Farmingdale businesses survive.
The owners rent the site but own all the contents of the restaurant. Tinisi has listed the restaurant through a brokerage firm in hopes that someone will buy it as-is and take it over as a Bollinger's-like restaurant. There's an end of March deadline on this.
"Everyone’s disappointed to hear," Brennan said. "Bollinger's has been a fixture even before Fred Bollinger took over. People say they came here as kids and now bring their kids and grandkids. There's a definite sadness."