When the Long Island Restaurant, a decades-old fixture at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street, closed in August, a note on the door suggested the eatery was just shuttered for a short vacation.
It’s now a nine-month respite.
The three owners — Emma, Maria and Pepita Sullivan — had shut it down to spend the fall in their home country of Spain.
But tragedy struck.
The fall trip extended into winter and then spring after the family matriarch, who is in her 100s, fell and became bedridden, said Brandie Burns, a Sullivan family friend.
Then, one of the Sullivan sisters’ sons died, extending the delays.
“It is heartbreaking,” said Burns. “They are all broken up right now.”
The Long Island Restaurant has been a favorite neighborhood haunt for 56 years and locals eagerly await its reopening. Indeed, the place looks ready to open at any time — a dishrag and glasses are still on the bar, as if the place was closed merely for the night.
The eatery’s neon sign, scrolled in classic 1950s style, was a community landmark and with the lights out, the neighborhood doesn’t feel the same, said Burns.
“It was the kinda place you could go to just hang out and relax,” said Burns, who added that Emma, Maria and Pepita’s kids are “busy doing their own thing,” and have little interest in carrying on the family tradition.
Burns said the Sullivans remain “hopeful about reopening.”
“They’ll never sell it,” he said.