WILLIAMSTOWN -- A local luncheonette on Cole Avenue is marking four decades of business under one family.
For the past 40 years, Leo's Luncheonette, at 248 Cole Ave., has been in the care of the late Pat Falbo, and then his daughter, Donna LaBombard.
It has also been a gathering place for several area residents who seek good food and good camaraderie.
"At a certain time during the day, you can tell who is coming in the door based on how the door opens and the footsteps that follow," LaBombard, 67, said this week.
Her customers, many who come to the restaurant daily, are like family to her, and will sometimes jump in if things get busy, she said.
"I have the best people in the world," she said. "We all care about one another and help each other out. They're all my brothers and sisters."
While LaBombard has had employees in the past, she works the luncheonette alone now, serving breakfast and lunch six days a week.
"I'm proud of this place, and I wish my father was alive to see it," she said. "I'm the luckiest person. Just to have this, and have my father teach me the business."
Her father bought the luncheonette on June 30, 1972. The eatery was previously owned by Leo Ouellette, of whom the place is named after. LaBombard then bought it from her father in 1981, and has no plans to retire, or close the eatery any time soon.
"I'd like to stay here as long as I can. It will be here as long as
While the menu at Leo's contains the traditional breakfast and lunch items of homemade eggs, bacon, sandwiches and burgers, there are also some specialty items including blueberry pancakes and the Hoo-HA. LaBombard said the Hoo-HA is a breakfast sandwich of ham, egg and cheese on a Portuguese roll, which was the creation of a former employee.
Jimmy Cameron, a regular at Leo's, said that he has been coming to the luncheonette for breakfast six days a week for the past 20 years.
"It just reminds you of an old neighborhood coffee house," he said. "It's not really fancy, but everybody who has come in here for years doesn't expect it to be."
It's his favorite place to go in the morning for coffee and toast, and to read the newspaper, he said. He'll sit at a table instead of the bar, so he can read the paper, and it's only a matter of time before some of the local group starts wandering over to his table, he said.
"Everyone cares about one another, and respects one another. If somebody is having a little problem, we try to help them. It's just like a family," he said.
Mary Lou Atkinson, who has been friends with LaBombard since childhood, said that she has been going to Leo's for the past 30 years.
"When I was working, I would have my breakfast there every morning before work," she said.
Now that she is retired, she generally goes there three times a week for either breakfast or lunch, she said.
"It's my hang out place," she said.
The luncheonette has a very special clientele, she said.
"While most of them are regulars, [LaBombard] gets a few who will come in just spur of the moment," she said.
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