Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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February 16th, 2012

Blanches Closing Is Hard to Digest

It is with sad news we learn of two major landmarks closing its doors, Blanches Diner and the Lodge at Rockhill. Another Sullivan County institution is also on the verge of shutting down within the next few weeks if things do not turn around. Indeed, businesses seem to be struggling more than ever.

The Lodge at Rock Hill over the past several years has become rundown despite its renovations and ballroom addition. Thankfully all may not be lost. Informed sources have told me that a credible new owner will most likely emerge and restore it to its glory.

The closing of Blanches Diner is very hard to digest.

Blanche Masters along with her son Bud LeConey turned Blanche’s Diner into a Sullivan County landmark.

Until her passing last year, Blanche served as host, cashier, and even waitress as her son Bud sweated behind the grill making certain each and every diner enjoyed their homemade cooking.

An ever souring Sullivan County economy and the passing of his mother led LeConey to shut the famed eatery. “It was time to move on. It was not the same without Blanche. This is a very tough economy,” LeConey told me.

“Blanche decided Twenty seven years ago to purchase Troy’s Diner in Mongaup Valley. We worked three months cleaning and renovating it to turn it into a place people would feel at home.”

Blanche’s Diner was much more than a place for good food. It quickly became Sullivan County’s political gathering hall and melting pot. Political movers and shakers were seen daily chowing down on homed cooked food while engaging in heated conversation.

If you were a politician you had to be seen at Blanche’s. LeConey was particularly proud that Chief Justice Lawrence Cooke was a daily customer.

“We had lots of fun meeting so many wonderful people. Blanche’s was a place where the “Working Joe” and professional would sit down next to one another and talk. It didn’t matter if it was the plumber, electrician, ditch digger, lawyer, doctor, or elected official, everyone spoke and had good conversation,” LeConey noted.

Waitresses Penny Blume and Chrissie Whitmore made everyone feel as if they were family. Blanche’s had the world’s best banana and blueberry pancakes.

As a frequent and loyal customer, Blanche used to tell me stories how customers would discuss this column while dining. “I keep my mouth zipped,” she would tell me while making a motion to her lips and winking at me.

“Bill you know I have to stay neutral and I can’t state my opinions publically because I have a business to run, but please keep doing what you are doing because someone has to,” she would tell me in her unforgettable tone and voice.

LeConey says he is in talks with several people interested in purchasing the business. Whether his secret pancake recipe would be part of the deal he says, “I plead the fifth.”

LeConey says he plans on spending a great deal of time helping his wife Bridgette who is Minister of the United Methodist Church in White Sulphur with charity work. We can expect to see a pancake fundraiser in the near future.

“Thank you to all of our customers who made our diner something special,” LeConey concluded. Perhaps it should be the other way around. Thank you, Blanche, Bud, Penny, and Chrissie for making us feel so special.

2 comments to Blanches Closing Is Hard to Digest

  • Ken

    Blanche’s has become such a special part of the character of Sullivan County. We hope the business continues in some form, but we dearly miss Blanche and will miss Bud, Penny, Chrissie and the “regulars”, all of whom have given this humble diner its unique status in our community.
    The three generations of regulars from our family all feel that we too have had a loss in our family. Thanks for all the wonderful food and wonderful memories. God bless you all.
    Jayne, Ken, Joshua, Jessica, Zachary, Samantha, Jody and Claire