Stacy’s in Leesburg will be closing its doors after New Year’s, according to owner Tyler Haines on Wednesday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Stacy’s in Leesburg will be closing its doors after New Year’s, according to owner Tyler Haines on Wednesday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
LEESBURG - After 50 years of serving generations of families, a staple in Kosciusko County is closing its doors at the end of the year.

Owner Tyler Haines announced Wednesday morning on the Facebook page for Stacy’s, 309 S. Main St. (Ind. 15), Leesburg, that the restaurant would not reopen after the first of 2023.

“Stacy’s Sports Inn will be closing our doors at the conclusion of dinner on Saturday, December 31, 2022. We will continue normal operating hours until our last final New Year’s Eve,” the post begins.

In a lunchtime interview at Stacy’s, Tyler said his parents, Stacy and Colleen Haines, bought The Sports Inn in 1972. He was in fifth grade at that time.

“I’ve been here all 50 years, off and on,” he said. “I started washing dishes in the fifth grade.”

Tyler said his dad, Stacy, bought the restaurant because he wanted to have his own business. Tyler is an architect and lawyer, but he said when he got out of law school, he decided he wanted to open up a small town practice so he moved back here, which also allowed him to be able to help his parents with Stacy’s as his parents got older.

“I was able to see them run it until they passed. Dad died in 2010, Mom died in 2015,” Tyler said.

He said the restaurant has always been well-known for its food, such as prime rib, steaks, seafood and salads.

The Facebook post states his parents’ risk turned into “one of the most notable dining establishments in the state of Indiana and serve the northern lakes area for 50 wonderful years. The Haines family is honored to have had Stacy’s become a staple in the Kosciusko County community, offering a welcoming atmosphere for families, friends and visitors alike.”

Tyler said, “We’ve always catered to a little older crowd. And you know, they’re kind of passing on, that’s part of maybe (why we’re closing). Why are we closing? Number one, we’re getting old and tired. My cook, Jim Bryan, he’s been here at least 35 years. We owe a lot to him, too, and his cooking.”

Kyle Tom and Tony Ciriello were two of the men having lunch with Tyler at what’s known at Stacy’s as The Round Table.

Tom said he’s been coming in to Stacy’s for 37 years and is “very disappointed” the establishment is closing.

“It’s the atmosphere. I grew up here. I started coming here. I used to wash dishes here when I was 13. It was kind of one of those things where Dad always brought me in here and I just continued to come in and support the Haines family. It’s a Leesburg treasure, if you ask me. It’s a diamond in the rough,” Tom said.

Ciriello said, “Stacy’s has been a place that I’ve been coming to for years. I’ve always had the pleasure of sitting at The Roundtable with the owner and other friends. I’m sure going to miss it when it’s gone.”

Things have really changed over the years, Tyler said. “When I was a kid, the president of Zimmer and all of his entourage would drive up here for lunch and sit with the farmers and talk business, about world news and stuff. I couldn’t even tell you who the president of Zimmer is now.”

Tom said Stacy’s is a great place to meet people up here to have meetings and lunches. “I’m definitely sad to see it go,” he said. “We always learn something every day at The Roundtable. Every day. Whether it’s in politics or whatever, that Roundtable - I might just buy the Roundtable for the heck of it.”

Tyler said they put the Roundtable in Leesburg’s Memorial Day Parade this year.

“Our goal was to hit 50 years and we did it, and it’s just not financially making sense to continue it,” he said.  

Tyler said he is going to try the restaurant. After making the post on Facebook that Stacy’s was closing, he said he already had at least three people express interest in it by lunch time.

Stacy’s has 15 to 20 part-time and full-time employees, with Bryan being the longest there.

“It’s been tough getting and keeping good, new employees. We were blessed with some really long-standing employees, Jim and many others that are just as much a part of this as our family or anyone else. They should have a good shoutout,” Tyler said.

The Facebook post states, “We hope that you will join us for one last meal over the next few weeks as we will continue to serve our signature dishes through the end of the year. Please consider making reservations through the rest of December and especially on New Year's Eve to celebrate Stacy’s history and the beginning of 2023. Over the next year, we will see that gift certificates are redeemed or honored by potential new owners.

“For all our Country Salad lovers, we plan on bottling our signature salad dressing and making it available for purchase. This would make a great gift for any Stacy’s fan this holiday season.”

Tyler said he thinks Stacy’s just needs some younger blood to operate the business.

“My health hasn’t been the greatest,” he said.

As a final thought, Tyler said, “I just want to thank everyone for all the years. I know Mom and Dad appreciated everybody. I always have said that, we served your grandparents, we served you and we served your children. About four to five generations have eaten here.”