GREEN BAY – Al’s Hamburger Shop will close on Sunday, but is expected to reopen later under new management.
The Rank family are selling the long-standing burger stand to yet unknown owners.
A letter to customers said: “Al’s has been sold to a new family that we are sure to love and cherish as much as our family has over the past 82 years. Although we know the sale was inevitable because of the recent passing of our parents, it is with great sadness but with optimism that we hand over the reins to someone new. “
Downtown Green Bay Inc. executive director Jeff Mirkes said he expects the new owners to give details in mid-July or soon after.
“It’s going to be Al’s burgers,” Mirkes said. “They may be closed for a while. They are going to make some minor improvements, from what I’m putting together.”
There were only standing places in the small downtown restaurant on Thursday as longtime patrons came to say goodbye.
“I’ve been coming here since I was 15,” said retiree Beverly Fonder of Green Bay, who learned about the change from a sign on the door. “I was here yesterday and today. This may be the last burger I eat here.”
John and Joan England from Pulaski also went to the counter to work on baskets of burgers and fries. John England estimated that he had been dating Al for 40 years. He said the food was good and his wife said the people were great.
“I’m sad to see the change, definitely,” said John England.
Al Rank opened the restaurant, located at 131 S. Washington St., in 1934. George Rank, his son, ran the restaurant for more than five decades before his death last year. Members of the Rank family continued to operate the facility.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The restaurant was listed for sale in 2015 for $ 280,000.
Al has been going through a difficult time in recent years. The restaurant was closed in August 2011 due to a fire that destroyed the small building. It reopened in April 2012, but George Rank passed away in June 2014. He is survived by five children, several of whom were involved in the business.
Mirkes said he was happy the business was staying downtown.
“The right buyers have arrived. We much prefer a smooth transition as they have planned rather than a business closure,” he said. “This is the continuation of a quality historic downtown business.
Rick Fuller brought his mother, Judy Fuller, and son, Andre Fuller, to Al’s for lunch on Thursday.
Judy Fuller remembers eating at Al’s with her friends as a teenager.
“It’s sad to see it shut down,” said Rick Fuller. “It is an institution.”
[email protected] or follow her on Twitter @PGPattiZarling