By Drew Olson Special to Published Nov 12, 2008 at 8:31 AM

The Elm Grove Inn, located at 13275 Watertown Plank Rd., closed its doors Oct. 1.

I drive by the place fairly often, but I can't say for certain if I ever dined there. If I did, it was 15 or more years ago.

I can't say the closing has impacted my life or my dining plans in any way.

But -- as strange as this may sound --  I'm bummed about it.

For starters, I hate to see just about any place close (with the possible exception of Circuit City, which was mentioned in Andy Tarnoff's blog yesterday). When businesses close, jobs are lost and the community is diminished.

Locally-owned restaurants are becoming rare these days. The Elm Grove Inn, which is purported to be the second-oldest restaurant in the state, offered a fine-dining experience that probably was a little out of my price and demographic range.

When I drove by, I often saw couples and extended families that seemed to be celebrating big events. When I watched these well-dressed folks walk on and off the porch of the place, I imagined grandparents' birthday brunches, wedding rehearsal dinners, graduation parties and other landmark celebrations.

For now, the celebrations have moved elsewhere.

Mark Doweiko, who took over operations at the Elm Grove Inn seven years ago, closed the place and the owners, Roxanne and Nico Derni, are looking for new operators.

I hope they find someone to take over soon. Maybe I'll try lunch or dinner there. If I don't, I look forward to seeing the activity again.

When a place that has been open for more than 150 years closes, it just doesn't seem right.

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.