This Thanksgiving season has been a long, tearful goodbye for Gerard Farms Kitchen and Deli as the 80-year-old Framingham institution prepares to close for good.
Though the restaurantís owner, Michael Gerard, said financial woes have forced him to close the kitchen, customers expressed sadness to hear they can no longer get their Thanksgiving turkeys and favorite sandwiches at Gerardís. Here are photos of of the store's final days.
ďThe outpouring has just been so sad, people come in not even to buy something, just to say goodbye,Ē said Gerard. ďIíll maybe make it into the second week of December until they shut my power off.Ē
Gerard took over the business after his father died 15 years ago, and giving up the store feels like his fatherís wake all over again, he said. His uncle, however, will continue to run the Marshfield store, said Gerard.
Jean Teague said Gerardís has been a family tradition since she was young. Her family lived in Framingham and would visit once a week. She has since moved to Maine, but every time she comes back to visit friends, she always makes a stop at Gerard Farms.
"Weíre losing a part of our townís history," she said. "Theyíve been a wonderful family of people."
Dale Gudejko of Framingham said she has been coming to Gerard Farm for 30 years. She said she loves to buy Gerardís sandwiches for lunch.
"I donít make turkey gravy all year because of this," said Gudejko after buying a big bag of gravy. "[Gerard Farms] is an icon."
Gerard Farms sells turkeys from a farm in New Oxford, Penn., though when Gerardís grandparents first opened in 1931, the farm raised its own birds. The deli is also stocked with prepared Thanksgiving favorites like macaroni and cheese, potatoes, pies and even homemade dressing.
The turkey sandwiches are a favorite with customers, and Gerardís usually sells about 200 a day, said Teri Amle, who has been working for Gerard for four months.
Bruce Stone of Framingham said he discovered Gerard Farms more recently. He visits family in New York for Thanksgiving, and he first brought a turkey from Gerardís two years ago.
"Everybody loved it," he said. "Iím going to miss it terribly."
Nancy and Bill Koerner of Carlisle and Bill Brown of Chelmsford said they are regulars at the store. Gerardís special turkey sandwiches are Nancyís favorite, she said.
"This is a real Mom and Pop organization, and I hate to see it go," she said. "Itís a shame."