GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The doors of Sam’s Diner have seen a lot of regulars pass through over the years, on any number of sunny days, snowstorms or any other weather. Thus, a foot of snow falling on the diner’s last day in its most recent 20-year run didn’t stop anyone.

“People are coming in through the snow,” said co-owner and operator Lisa Brock, just before the diner’s final lunchtime on Friday. “They’re reminiscing about how many years they’ve been here, so I’m hearing some great stories. This community is outstanding, they’ve stood right behind us.”

As snow and hail traded shifts outside, Lisa and the faces of the diner took their final shifts inside, with diners coming in to get their last omelette, sandwich or cup of coffee. One face sorely missing is that of Lisa Brock’s husband, Pete, who passed away last August. Pete spent the first 18 of those years behind the counter, cooking for a community he truly cared about.

“He was there at the grill, so everyone came to sit right here,” Lisa said, gesturing at the counter where a few visitors sat, enjoying a late breakfast or early lunch. “Cheers without beers – that’s what this was like. If someone didn’t show up that was a regular, he would call them up and ask, ‘Are you okay? Where are you?'”

The scene for most of the 11 o’clock hour reflected that perfectly. A customer would come in, order a meal, and mention that Pete had known how they liked it cooked. A chorus of people wished Lisa and her crew well as they paid their final checks, and stepped out the door and onto a snowy Dix Avenue sidewalk for the last time. It was emotional for the lifelong regulars, and for the more recent ones as well.

“I’ve been coming here since within the last year,” said Trent Babineau, who has lived in Glens Falls for the last 20 years or so. “It’s delicious food, and I’d like to say I was a part of seeing it go.”

Babineau’s order? Two eggs over easy, sausage links, and a side of toast made with bread from Villa’s Bakery, just a couple of blocks away. And a cup of coffee, of course.

Pete passed away after a long battle with malignant melanoma and lymphatic cancer, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time which was already difficult for local restaurants as it was. When the sickness got bad, Pete stepped away from the kitchen entirely. Lisa hired Kelly Remsburger to take up the spatula.

For Remsburger, it was the end of an era in another way. Her last day cooking corned beef hash and eggs marks 24 years of working in restaurants, between cooking and waitressing. She’ll miss it, to be sure, but feels that her last day at Sam’s will be her last in the kitchen for the foreseeable future.

“I think it’s an end of an era,” Remsburger said. The next era? “I think construction, with my boyfriend.”

Pete’s passing shook everyone at the diner, employee and customer alike. But it wasn’t the only thing that motivated the shutdown. Lisa says that rising prices and a lack of workers were what sealed the deal.

After closing on Friday, there’ll still be a lot to do. Sam’s Diner is full of memorabilia, from family photos to a line of Wheaties cereal boxes on a shelf in a corner; part of a collection of around 200 boxes accumulated by Pete over the years. Outside, one side of the Sam’s Diner sign hanging in front of Dix Avenue fell off on Thursday.

“I guess I’m taking that with me too,” Lisa said. “It felt kind of like a sign.”

A shelf of Wheaties cereal boxes, collected by Pete Brock, sits on a shelf at Sam’s Diner. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

If you’re wondering, yes, there is an actual Sam; and the diner has been around for a lot longer than 20 years. It was first opened by Sam Celine, who lived next door, and then passed down to his son, Chris. One day, Chris Celine met a young Pete Brock, who had his own aspirations of opening the diner, and the Brock family ended up taking charge of the diner.

You can look at the building from the outside for an idea of what’s next. On the face of Sam’s Diner, a banner hangs, declaring the business a supporter of Operation Santa Claus, a charity effort that provides winter coats and clothes to kids in need every holiday season. Pete advocated for getting the Glens Falls community involved, and this past New Year’s Eve, an Adirondack Thunder hockey game held in his honor. That game raised over $10,000 in donations, and signifies the work Lisa hopes to do going forward.

“As a family, we’ll still be doing Operation Santa Claus,” she said. “It was important to my husband. It’s important to the community, to keep the kids warm in the wintertime.”

As for the home of Sam’s Diner, Lisa doesn’t entirely know what’s next. The building is owned by her two sons, who are looking to lease it. Anyone interested in starting something new in the fully-furnished diner can contact Brock on Facebook.

A hash omelette with hot peppers, served up on the final day of business at Sam’s Diner in Glens Falls, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

NEWS10’s Jay Petrequin went with a corned beef hash omelette with hot peppers, rye toast and a cup of coffee. All of it was made by care by a group of Glens Falls locals saying one last, heartfelt “thank you” to the family who kept the counter busy for the last two decades.