ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Rosie's Diner, the iconic diner featured in commercials and on the Food Network, has shut its doors.
What began as a temporary closure Oct. 2 for a two-day renovation became permanent.
Owner Jonelle Woods told her 30 full- and part-time employees she wouldn't be reopening the restaurant, which is near Rockford.
"She said they don't have the money, and they are done," said Rebecca Kompstra, who worked as a waitress since 1995.
Woods, a greater Detroit native, purchased the diner with Randy Roest, her husband at the time, from artist and the restaurant's founder Jeff Berta in 2006. At the time, Berta was preparing to put the property on the auction block after a previous owner defaulted on her land contract.
The iconic eatery was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" in 2006, and on the Travel Channel's "Diner Paradise."
But the 1946 dining car found fame as the backdrop for TV spots for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble's Bounty paper towels. The 1970s commercials featured the late character actress Nancy Walker, who played a waitress named Rosie who regularly used the "quicker-picker-upper" towels to clean up the spills of clumsy customers. After the commercial, the owner at the time renamed the restaurant — which originally opened as the Silver Dollar Diner in New Jersey — Rosie's Diner.
Berta later brought the dining car to its current location in the 1990s. Rosie's Diner sits in the center of a trio of old-style dining cars with an 18-hole mini-golf course in the back on a 4 1/2-acre property. The dining car to the right was converted into a sports bar that closed while the dining car to the left opened as the Ice Cream Shoppe in September 2010 as a seasonal operation.
Woods told the Press earlier this year she was trying to preserve the authentic diner-style 1950s-era experience with her menu of homemade comfort food.
"We're the only one in the country with three authentic diners on the same property," Woods said at the time.
Kim Little, who was shopping at a store near Rose's Diner, says she was sad to see the restaurant close.
"The food was fantastic," said Little, adding that she hadn't been to Rosie's Diner in several months because of the tough economy.