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Martinsburg's Spring House serving its last meal on Monday

June 15, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A well-known eatery downtown will close its doors at 2 p.m. Monday after serving its last meal.

For the better part of 24 years, Spring House Restaurant owner Laurie Risley has worked with JoAnn Barrett and Becky McDonald at the small establishment on Queen Street.

The three of them rotate as cook, waitress, server and dishwasher in the restaurant that is open daily and can seat more than 75 people, Risley said.

All three are from Hedgesville, W.Va., and Risley and McDonald were school friends, Risley said.

When Risley's husband died about three years ago, she began to lose interest in operating and working in the restaurant. Risley said the reason she stayed was she "was more worried about Becky and her mother, JoAnn."

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About a year ago, Laura Gassler, who owns the building, listed it for sale with real estate brokers Snyder, Bailey and Associates, Carolyn Snyder said Monday.

Risley said the sale of the building was met with mixed feelings. She was concerned about her friends not having their restaurant jobs, but she wants to expand her cleaning business and wants to spend more time at Open Arms Ministry, the Hedgesville church that her husband served as pastor.

"Knowing it was up for sale convinced me it was time to move on," Risley said.

Risley said she told Barrett and McDonald six months ago of her plan to close.

"I told her to think of herself and not to worry about us," Barrett said.

Barrett is searching for a new job, she said. McDonald will begin working in July at Manna Food for Life on King Street.

"People said they will follow me to the new restaurant," McDonald said.

"We will miss all our patrons," Risley said.

Martinsburg Fan Club members have been daily patrons for more than 20 years, and they have their own table, Risley said.

Other guests have visited the restaurant so often that they want to sit at their own tables, too, McDonald said.

"A group of retirees come in together five days a week," she said.

"It's been an easy place to work," Risley said. "It's been enjoyable."

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