Landmark Restaurant Closing in Pottsville

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POTTSVILLE -- A restaurant in Pottsville will close its doors for good Sunday afternoon. The owner blames the economy for giving him no other choice.

The Coney Island restaurant has been a landmark on Centre Street in downtown Pottsville.

People know they'll soon not be able to eat there. The business will close for good Sunday afternoon. The prospect brought tears to owner Ray Westcoat's eyes.

"You know how many people have come through that door, who I made good friends within 45 years, good people, hardworking," said Westcoat.

Westcoat blames the economy for closing down. He said the price of food has gone up, so have his utility bills. His long-time customers, including Dave Zvorsky,have good memories of the place.

"Ray threw me out a few times when I was a teenager. We'd get radical sometimes, he'd chase us out and let us back in." explained Zvorsky.

Pearl Murphy of Tremont said she has been coming to the restaurant for decades.

"I am an old lady, and I've been coming here since I was a young lady. I used to come here all the time. They are nice people," said Murphy.

The business opened in 1917 and has been run by a number of people. Ray Westcoat's specialty is hot dogs and hamburgers, all made with a special sauce. Al Barnes said he's been coming to the restaurant for 70 years.

"I hope someone comes in and takes over and i wonder if ray is going to teach somebody, it`s great!" said Barnes.

The lives of five people who work at Coney Island will really change Sunday at 2 p.m. when the business closes. They'll be added to the unemployment rolls.

And what will Ray Westcoat do after his last day?

" I'd like to have a good cry if I can," said Westcoat.