Patsio’s, the Casselberry diner, will close sometime Monday, whenever it runs out of food. The restaurant was opened in 1984 by Bill Patsio and was originally a 24-hour diner that served hungry revelers leaving bars and nightclubs. According to owner Mitch Lantigua, the rent on the building became too much to handle, and the landlord would not negotiate the lease. “Our rent is just ridiculously high,” said Lantigua, “nearly $8,000 per month.” The rent increased yearly, he said, but the sales were declining.
Lantigua’s father bought the business from Patsio in 2004; Lantigua worked as a table buser when he was 12 years old. Many of the people who now work for him have been there all along. “All my staff are the original staff,” he said. Some have been there 20 or 25 years. “I’ve known them since I was a little kid here.” Patsio’s employs 15 or 16 workers, according to Lantigua.
Since announcing the closing Friday on its Facebook page, Patsio’s has been receiving an outpouring of support from old customers. One former customer, according to Lantigua, flew in special from China for one last visit.
As far as the future, Lantigua was uncertain what will happen next. He planned to remove his equipment this afternoon and store it in his garage. A relocation is possible, he said, and something he’ll consider. When I reached him by phone during the lunchtime, he said customers were offering to buy memorabilia. He said he had just removed a review I did of Patsio’s for a column I once wrote about takeout food. Someone offered to buy it, he said, but he told them no.
As coincidence would have it, just the other day I was visiting a restaurant directly across the street from Patsio’s. When I saw it I thought to myself, They’ve certainly been there a good long time.”
“A lot of stories and memories were made here in this place,” Lantigua said. What are your memories of Patsio’s?