SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – What a difference one week has made in the future of the iconic Student Prince and Fort restaurant in downtown Springfield. 22News is working for you at what was to have been the last hurrah for the beloved landmark.
Sunday’s open house was to have been the last day in the life of the 78-year-old restaurant. That was before Peter Pan’ bus company owner Peter Picknelly offered to buy the place and re-open the Fort in the fall. Owner Rudi Scherff remembers how he felt before Picknelly promised to rescue the Student Prince.
“Last week I was depressed, I was sad, the restaurant’s been here for seventy eight years and business was slowing down and we got behind on our bills, I’m getting older,” said Scherff.
The new lease on life for the Student Prince also thrills and relieves the many long time customers who came for the open house. Each spoke of the bond that began generations ago.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia we’ve come here as a family for years. My father in law started it up and we used to come on Christmas every year,” said Rich Davis of Enfield, CT.
“My father started coming to this restaurant in 1935, when Rudi’s father, Rupprechtt in 1949. It’s always been good food and we come with our son, second generation my kids are with me,” said Tracy Carman of Longmeadow.
Rudi Scherff said plans call for closing the restaurant for two months and then re-opening in the fall, when Scherff and his family will again be fixtures at this downtown landmark.
Scherrff will no longer own the restaurant, but he will retain a place of honor welcoming the lunch and dinner crowd as he and his family have for so many years.