SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Ask any 10 residents of Moreau or South Glens Falls what their favorite restaurant is, and there’s a decent chance you’ll hear one name come up more than once. That name, established in 1929, is Massie’s Restaurant.

On Tuesday, loyal customers came to the restaurant to get their share of lasagna, soup and other fare. They didn’t come inside to dine, though – instead, they visited around back to receive their home-cooked classics in plastic containers. As of this week, Massie’s is on hold for the next few months.

“There’s been no home life. It’s been 8 a.m. to midnight every day,” said Jon Greenwood, who has owned and operated Massie’s for the last 7 years. “Get downstairs, try to balance some drawers, take on prep sheets, work a station on the line that needs me, help wash dishes because our dishwasher is backed up; rinse and repeat, then go upstairs, take the quickest shower in the world, lie down, close my eyes and hope I fall asleep quickly.”

For Greenwood, the last six-to-seven weeks marked a point of no return. Around the end of 2022, the restaurant’s chef stepped away in order to get more time with his family, a decision Greenwood endorses completely – but which left Massie’s short a pair of influential hands. While the front of the house kept as busy as ever, serving a loyal community, things in the back got harder and harder.

Since the chef’s departure, the above task list comprised between 16 and 18 hours of daily life for Greenwood. He hasn’t been alone at the back of the house – and enthusiastically credits the hard work of the staff who have been there alongside him. Replacing the chef has been difficult, in the same way that hiring anyone at the back of the house has been.

“If I put out an ad for service workers (waiters and servers), I would get 50 applicants in an hour. If I put an ad out for kitchen staff, in a week we might get two, and possibly one will actually show up.”

After weeks, a moment of reckoning brought Greenwood to the decision over the weekend to close the restaurant down, and take a few months to regroup on better footing. On Tuesday, the restaurant announced on Facebook that it had extra servings of lasagna, spaghetti, turkey, sauces and soup to give to whoever in the community needed them.

The post was flooded with comments within minutes. By the following hour, the back lot of Massie’s was being visited by families making use of the free food – and sharing their own well wishes to Greenwood and his decision.

“I love to give. That really lifted me up pretty good. I’m a lot more optimistic than three days ago,” he said.

Despite closing down, Greenwood will still be spending a lot of time at Massie’s for the next two weeks. In his own words, it takes a lot of work to shut down a restaurant. He wants to keep getting excess food out, citing avenues like the Moreau Community Center and Open Door Mission in addition to the community at large.

Once that work is done, he plans to decompress, possibly by taking a trip to Florida to get away for a bit. When he returns, the restauranteur has a list of ideas written down over recent months that he has lacked the time to make a reality.

In the meantime, the response on Tuesday reminds him that the customer base has never been the problem. As long as there are people in South Glens Falls, there will always be hungry customers ready to come to Massie’s.

“Someone just asked me if we were closed for good, and I said ‘Not likely.’ I have too much pride to do a bad job. If I can’t do a good job, I just won’t do any job at all.”