The Lad, the local chain that sells everything from coffee to hot dogs to hot cocoa to hot cereal, is one of the few chain restaurants that has survived the Great Recession without closing or moving locations.
That means it’s one of those places where the owner and staff feel like they’ve been through a lot.
That’s one reason why it was a big hit during the Great Depression.
The Lad had three locations in downtown Detroit, including a branch in the old Grand Central Terminal.
It opened in 1947, and it has more than 30 locations across the United States and Canada.
Now it has a fourth location in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
Owner Bob De La Rosa has been open at that location since March, and the chain was open on Thursday, Sept. 20.
That meant De La Selas family members and others in the community came to the store for lunch.
The owner of The Lad says his family’s food store, which sells everything they can, is an institution.
“I grew up with the Lad, and my grandparents are from there,” he said.
“They are all my heroes.
They come here, and they eat here, too. “
My son, my grandson are very passionate about it.
They come here, and they eat here, too.
It’s a wonderful place to have your meals and it’s a great place to go and eat.”
That includes a lot of the people in the neighborhood.
“The Lad is one that is still here,” said Michael Brown, who owns The Lad.
“We are one of them.”
De La’s grandson, David Brown, says he has been a loyal customer of The Lost Lemons for decades.
“For me, it was the only one that I really ate out of,” he told WDIV.
“And I’ve been going back and forth with my friends, and there are a lot people who go to The Lad all the time.”
His son, Daniel Brown, said that many of the regulars of The Lemons, who come in from all over the world, can’t find any of their food.
“There’s just a lot left over, so when I see a little bit of it in the fridge I have to go back and look,” he recalled.
“So, we’ll get out and try it.
There’s not much left over that I don’t eat out of, so I just go back to it.”
He said that he was surprised when he opened his first The Lad at a time when the restaurant was closing.
“It’s like we’re trying to go out of business,” he joked.
“But I think that’s the way it is.”
De la Selas says that he plans to open his fourth The Lad location in a few months, and he expects to have a restaurant at the new location by the end of the year.
“If I can find someplace else to open the next one, I will,” he predicted.
The restaurant was one of several chain restaurants De La and his family have closed in the past few years, as well as a handful of other stores.
De La told WDRB that the restaurant will close in early 2018.
He said he’s still open to doing business with other stores, including another restaurant chain in Livonia, but he’s not sure when he’ll reopen the location.
He added that he has plans to expand The Lad in other locations.
“Our restaurants are part of the fabric of the community, and I want to see them thrive,” he promised.
“Whether they’re the same or not, we’re still going to keep doing business.”