Niles B&L closing in June
By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The owners of the B&L Inn, a longtime Niles fixture, have decided to sell their property and close the restaurant sometime in June.
The diner, famous for its ham sandwiches and homemade onion rings, has been serving loyal customers in Niles since 1958.
Linda Balos, who co-owns B&L with her husband Danny, said she would not comment on the terms of the property's sale due to contractual restraints, but said their last day of business will be sometime in June.
Niles Community Development Director Juan Ganum said the property will be the future site of a 7,000 sq. foot auto parts store.
He said city officials have recently met with the developers to discuss construction plans.
Balos said her customers were devastated when they heard the news of its closing.
She said the closing has nothing to do with business and everything to do with the work required to keep the restaurant open.
Running the restaurant consumes nearly all of Balos' time and she is looking for a change.
The B&L Inn, located on the corner of South 11th Street and Silverbrook Avenue, was opened 46 years ago by Balos' parents Robert and June Hemminger and another couple Lew and Margaret Rossow. The name B&L Inn means Bob and Lew.
Balos said she had many customers come to Niles from out of town to get their ham sandwiches and onion rings. The business goes through 600 pounds of ham and 750 pounds of onions a week.
In addition to missing the loyal customers, she will also miss her 11 dedicated employees.
Jesse Clements, an employee of six years, will miss B &L dearly and does not know what the future holds for her.
Balos, who currently spends her entire day at the diner from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., said she will look for a 9 to 5 job when B &L closes.
She is not sure what career she will pursue next, but said she has some experience in the banking field.
Most of the decorations on the walls have already been sold. The sports memorabilia and decorative beer signs have price tags on them and most have been spoken for.
Balos said the only things she will be taking with her are the collection of Joe Montana memorabilia and the cow displayed on the roof. She said the cow, which was given to her father from Schmidt Meat Packing Co. in the 1960s, will be going in her front yard.
As for their mouth watering menu, Balos said the recipes and the building will share a similar fate.