Michigan's oldest restaurant has closed - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Michigan's oldest restaurant has closed

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(11/14/12) - It was billed as Michigan's oldest restaurant. The Historic White Horse Inn had been serving customers in Lapeer County for 162 years. But it has abruptly closed.

You may not have known where Metamora was, but you probably knew the famous restaurant.

"You'd say, 'Have you ever heard of the White Horse?' They'd say, 'Oh, now I know where you live,'" said Arlene Taylor of Metamora.

The railroad came through this area in 1850. The White Horse opened at that time to provide rooms for overnight guests and give them a hot meal. It had operated continuously since that time and people in southern Lapeer County had come to rely on it.

"It's where I met all my friends. We'd have lunch. We'd have dinner. We socialized," said customer Susan Snethkamp.

"We'd go over there for lunch. We'd take our clients for lunch. People came from all over Michigan to this particular spot," Carole Porretta, of nearby Coventry Realty.

But the building needed major renovations. Employees say the wooden floors were bowed and sloping. You can see one window is tilted.

"It needs a lot of repairs. The building's been neglected for years," said David Stoner, Historic White Horse Inn employee.

A sign sits now at the main entrance, telling customers the owners Jim and Lisa Wilkins had to close the doors because it would have been too expensive to restore the building. But some employees weren't notified about the closing.

"At least have the decency to be straight forward and give us a call and tell us," Stoner said.

"We had no warning. A couple of us got emails," said Zach Kerchen, kitchen manager.

People who live in Metamora say they'll remember the good times they had there and won't focus on the demise.

"It's just the place everybody went to. It's just sad," Taylor said.

ABC12 News tired to contact the owners of the Historic White Horse Inn, but we were not successful.

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