MOOERS - The Blue Note Restaurant on Route 11 closed its doors for the final time Oct. 31. However, on Nov. 15, locals were able to gather once more to celebrate its longstanding history.
Expecting to enter the Rainbow and Wedding Banquet Hall's Blue Room in Altona to celebrate her nephews birthday party, The Blue Note Restaurant's owner Betty Jean Sample was greeted by friends and family to a surprise party to celebrate her retirement.
"Much of a shock," said Betty Jean. "I had no idea."
The party was organized by Betty Jean's family, including her son Justin.
"She was real surprised," laughed Justin. "You could tell when she walked in she didn't know what was going on."
Betty Jean's husband Ernest took over ownership of the restaurant in 1967, and Betty Jean began working there in 1974.
After 35 long years, Betty Jean decided she had had enough.
"It's just that we were in it so many years that it was time for me to get out of there," she laughed.
In reality, Betty Jean had been working the restaurant without Ernest since 2001, when he retired due to back problems.
After hearing his mother had finally decided to step away from the business, Justin wasn't sure he believed her.
"She's been talking about it for the last four or five years," said Justin. "'I'm done this year. I'm done, I'm done.' Then finally I think she had enough. Finally decided it was time."
One of the reasons why the Blue Note Restaurant was so successful for so many years, is because it was the place for locals to go.
"Everybody solved problems there and different things like that," laughed Betty Jean. "It was just a meeting place. We've seen a lot of people come and go. Plus ... everything was home cooked."
One of the biggest problems Betty Jean now faces in retirement is sleeping in.
"I can't get used to staying in bed longer than 4:30 a.m.," she said. "I always got up at 4:30 a.m. because we made our own donuts."
"I'm happy for her. She's enjoying her time off now," said Justin. I think she misses being there in the morning around all the regular customers."
As for the future of the building, Betty Jean plans to sell it.
"I don't know if anything will come before spring, but that's what we want to do anyway."
If the building cannot sell as a restaurant, they will do something else with it.
"I don't like to see empty buildings, especially one that has been there so long."