“OMG this is devastating!!!”
“Please open somewhere else in Patchogue!!”
“This ruined my day.”
That’s just a sampling of comments left on the Flo’s Luncheonette Facebook page this morning (see below), where the company announced the closing of its Patchogue location.
Flo’s owner Connor Vigliotta said it was nice to read all the comments, which had amounted to nearly 300 a few hours after Flo’s posted the news.
“It’s not like people are pouring their hearts out to us every day, so when you see this now, it’s like wow; I guess we mean more to people than we thought,” he said.
The business is closing after two years and eight months to make way for the Anheuser Busch-owned Blue Point Brewery, which is still negotiating the terms for the 110,000-square-foot building, in which Briarcliffe College is the anchor tenant.
Briarcliffe announced last year it would be closing and teaching out its current students.
Flo’s Luncheonette in Patchogue is an expansion of the Flo’s that’s been in Blue Point since 1926, which is also owned by the Vigliotta family on Middle Road.
Connor Vigliotta and Flo’s GM Matthew Harris said the company’s focus for 2017 will be on the original Flo’s location, the Flo’s On the Go food truck, and a recently inked contract with Brookhaven Town to operate a concession operation on Corey Beach.
Flo’s of Patchogue opened in what’s now called the Briarcliffe building on West Main Street on April 21, 2014 — after about a year of planning and construction.
The idea was to bring the Flo’s Luncheonette vibe from Blue Point to Patchogue Village, which would be especially neat for regular customers during the cooler months when the seasonal Flo’s of Blue Point is closed.
Recreating Flo’s, even capturing all their loyal Blue Point customers, proved harder than they thought, Vigliotta said.
“For me — just going back and forth all the time between the two restaurants — the energies were just so different; it’s almost like it can’t be recreated,” he said. “But in the end, the Patchogue location became its own place, with its own atmosphere, that people really did enjoy.”
That was on full display in the Facebook comments.
The big question that Flosies have been asking is whether or not Flo’s will be reopening. (That, or begging them to reopen somewhere closer to them.)
Vigliotta and Harris wouldn’t rule that out on Tuesday, but said there are no imminent plans to reopen.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities; a lot of people have reached out to us [to look at locations] but we’re focused on shutting this place down right now, and focusing on the summer,” Harris said.
The third tenant at the Briarcliffe building, Mr. D’s Ultimate Fitness, has already announced a move to a new location. The gym’s owner, Dennis Forman, said the gym will be moving to the West Lake Catering building, which is just a few blocks to the west on West Main Street.
News of Blue Point Brewing Company’s desire to move its brewery from River Avenue to the much-larger West Main Street location has been in circulation for several months.
The property is owned by Swezey Real Estate Development, and David Knapp of Swezey Real Estate confirmed on Tuesday that a deal with Anheuser Busch has still not been finalized.
Either way, Flo’s Luncheonette will be closing on Dec. 31.
Vigliotta said he believes Flo’s has learned a lot from its expansion to Patchogue, and is confident those lessons will be carried over if they ever open another location.
And, he said, being on Main Street in the village was great for exposure for the brand.
He also believes the new brewery will be great for the area.
“…. we live and love it here and wanted to be a part of its ongoing resurgence, positive energy and promising future,” he and the staff said on Facebook this morning.
“And so, it is for the same reason that we have agreed to give up our lease. The brewery will be an iconic destination that will anchor and promote future development of the west end of our village. In addition, it will bring great opportunity to the people of our village.”
Despite the upbeat take, a very steady flow of sad and crying face emojis followed.
“It’s nice to know that people care and that they’re going got miss us,” Harris said. “We’re working there every day so it’s not like we get a chance to take it all in.”
“I guess we really did right by some people,” Vigliotta said.