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Time to turn the lights back on at Berry's Restaurant

By Joe Centers • Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 1:44 PM

It was a perfect night in uptown Norwalk.

It was brisk but not too cold and the rain stayed away. It was a perfect way to kick off the holiday season with Light Up Norwalk and Shop Small Saturday.

With Black Friday and big-box stores in the rear-view mirror, it was time to shine a light on what Norwalk’s uptown has to offer. 

It’s not like the old days, of course, but nothing is. There are no clothing stores or shoe stores and there is no soda fountain at Woolworth’s to enjoy. But there are plenty of specialty shops uptown to take advantage of. You would be surprised how far some people drive to come visit Norwalk.

There was action up and down Main Street from the live Nativity scene at First Baptist Church, featuring the First United Methodist Church choir, to the carriage rides on Case Avenue. In between there was Santa, a hot chocolate stand, a vendor’s village, reindeer and food trucks, story reading, face painting, cookies and crafts, live music and what is becoming a real favorite around town, Corrigan’s Kettle Corn.

Kelly Lippus and Tony Schaffer, of the Norwalk Area Visitors Bureau, should stand up and take a bow for putting on such a special night.

There was one thing missing, however, and that was the biggest light on Main Street. While the town was lit up, the sign on Berry’s Restaurant was dark. It’s been a couple of weeks since the iconic restaurant has been closed.

The restaurant’s previous owners are being foreclosed on by Civista Bank and a sheriff’s sale is scheduled for Dec. 16, according to the auditor’s office.

There are a lot of issues going on with the restaurant and its owners, and will take time to get everything sorted out. But the restaurant is closed and that is not good for uptown.

People will remember when McClain’s Restaurant was the centerpiece of downtown Bellevue. That was the only savior for many Norwalk High School fans over the years when the Truckers played at Bellevue. A stop for dinner and a couple of special lemonades normally would take the sting out of what was coming next.

When McClain’s closed a piece of downtown Bellevue’s heart when with it.

Restaurants have come and gone over the years in Norwalk, but there is only one Berry’s Restaurant.

My mom grew up at West 85th Street and Madison Avenue in Cleveland and she tells stories about getting into their car on a Sunday afternoon and driving all the way to Norwalk for a meal at Berry’s Restaurant. And in those years that was quite a drive.

Steve Schumm said he remembers when team buses would drive through Norwalk either heading east or west, to or from a game, and they would stop at Berry’s Restaurant for a meal. 

Everybody you talk to has some sort of story to tell about Berry’s Restaurant. The bashers, of course, will hide behind their screen name and blast everything from the owners to the apple pie, but they are the same people who would blast Santa Claus. Why? Because they can.

We can only hope something is worked out and Berry’s Restaurant can survive.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]


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