Parting is such sweet sorrow – A Decatur institution closes after 32 yearsGlen Gurevitch, right, and his wife, Liz. Photo provided to Decaturish
Decatur, GA — Glen Gurevitch remembers Decatur when it wasn’t bustling with popular restaurants or a destination for young families.
He was 29 years old in 1989 when he opened what would become Sweet Melissa’s on the Decatur Square. He was one of the youngest business owners in town and started off with an assist from his parents. His restaurant on on East Court Square started out as the Pita Place and stayed that way for a few years because the family couldn’t afford to change the awning. Then an artist came around who was sprucing up Decatur ahead of the 1996 Summer Olympics and offered to redo the restaurant’s sign for a mere $300.
The name, in honor of daughter Melissa, stuck and it Sweet Melissa’s stayed open until March 6 when the restaurant concluded its 32-year run. While nearby businesses and buildings changed owners, Sweet Melissa’s popular breakfast spot was a constant presence.
“I have dreamed about this day for years and always knew it would come with tears of joy and tears of sadness,” Gurevitch said in a Facebook post announcing the family’s decision. “There would have been many ways to do this, including with major fanfare, but as we have always done, we followed our hearts and felt this was the right time and way.”
The family behind Sweet Melissa’s longevity was due in part to the family owning its building. The family is also the landlord for the nearby Brick Store restaurant. The building is for sale and Gurevitch has plans for a comfortable retirement. He’s building a house on Folly Beach in South Carolina. He also credit’s the business success to the leadership of Decatur, including the leadership provided by former assistant city manager Lyn Menne and current Assistant City Manager Linda Harris.
“Decatur has always had its businesses at heart that’s made it a really enjoyable place to have a business,” Gurevitch said.
But now it’s time to move on. Gurevitch will miss the people the most.
“We can’t wait to move to Folly Beach,” he said. “We’re moving out of a city where we know so many people. … It’s the happiest and saddest day of my life.”
He said the restaurant may publish a cookbook of its favorite recipes due to popular demand.
In his Facebook post, Gurevitch thanked everyone for making Sweet Melissa’s a sweet success.
“I would like first of all to thank every person who has ever put up working with me,” he wrote. “I thank you all for enabling me to take vacations with my family realizing that water main breaks, equipment failures, inclement weather, fires, floods and other malfunctions always seemed to happen while we were away. I would also like to truly thank every customer who has come in to eat with us, City of Decatur police, fire department, support staff at city hall, The Decatur Downtown Development Authority, as well as my dear family and friends. I absolutely couldn’t have done this without you!
“Most of all, I’d like to thank my girls. My daughters Melissa and Dani, and my best friend and first and favorite wife Liz! Owning a small business, especially a restaurant, can be both great and exciting as well as challenging. I loved that in working for myself, I was able to walk Melissa and Dani to elementary school and was able to scoot out of work to pick them up. On the other side, as I once sang to Liz, ‘If I owned a restaurant and worked on the weekends, would you marry me anyway, would you …’ I certainly know that our business often impacted our family life. I love the three of you more than you can ever imagine.”
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