Detroit's only Big Boy closing after 50 years, last day will be Easter Sunday

Posted at 4:28 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 16:28:15-04

It's been a go-to restaurant for many Detroiters for half a century, but the Big Boy on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit will be closing its doors.

"Surprised, very surprised," said Denese Williams.

She has been coming to Detroit's only Big Boy for more than 20 years.

"I brought my daughter when she was young and my grandkids came here. They came here on their first dates."

The restaurant has been opened for 50 years.

A developer has purchased the property and the restaurant's last day will be Easter Sunday, leaving customers like Denese heartbroken.

"This is the only restaurant in this area that's affordable and it's welcoming and people feel comfortable going to," she explained. "If you are alone, they make you feel like you are part of the family."

Big Boy owners are giving employees bonuses and helping them try to find other jobs.

For employees, like Kayla Berryhill, this Big Boy was like a second home.

"I had a lot of favorite customers," she said. "A lot of people are hurt over it."

Her mother worked here for more than 20 years and she started five years ago. Now, she is considering a career change and going to nursing school.

Kayla added, "It was a great place. I hope to see a lot more people before we close down."

The developers haven't announced plans for the property, but in the interim they're considering a farmers market or food truck park.

They're also looking into five more properties north of the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue for mixed-use development.

And while Denese says this is great news for Detroit, she will still miss her Big Boy.

"It's good memories. It's good people and I just hate to see them go."