Has Milford's Legion Post served its last meal?
The Milford American Legion Post 384 sign outside still promises "fine foods & cocktails."
But the grill has been cold since mid-November, when the owners of Deb & Ann's Supper Club decided to end its lease. Members of the American Legion Post in Milford met Tuesday night to decide what to do next.
"The building's aged and we've been doing things kind of on a shoestring," Post Commander Steve Anderson said.
It hasn't fallen into disrepair -- the post recently replaced the building's insulation -- but the electrical system likely needs to be replaced. New ceiling tiles and carpet would give the interior a new look. Other changes could improve the energy efficiency of the building.
In a letter to Legion and Auxilary members, Tom Arends noted a desire to keep the building open and operational. The Buy Rite executive helped organize a spaghetti dinner as incentive for Tuesday night's meeting.
"We're trying to get an idea of what the membership wants to do," Anderson said. "We have two buildings -- do we want to keep both of them? Do we want to keep running a restaurant or do we have a different idea or a different model of what to do?"
Both buildings are across from Buy Rite and near Northwest Bank. Travelers may be familiar with the supper club, which is along Highway 71.
"That's where our post meeting room is," Anderson said. "It's also where we store all of the flags for the Avenue of Flags on Memorial Day. Back behind that building there's a steel building where the Boy Scout troop meets. We've got a storage building back there and that's where we keep the flag poles for the Avenue of Flags."
Anderson notes how hard the economy is on the restaurant industry -- Legion members may be looking for their third tenant in two years. He also mentioned another concern: At 37, he's the youngest member of his American Legion Post.
"We've had all of these people who have gone overseas and none of them are members right now," he said. "That's hurting us because we're losing the World War II veterans on a constant basis."
The commander expects to have a followup meeting with Milford's American Legion membership early in 2014. They'll review ideas that surfaced at Tuesday night's meeting as they plan the next step.
Depending on feedback Tuesday night, the supper club could be office space or a small community building instead.
"Maybe a restaurant is the right way to go, but maybe it's not," Anderson said.