Ninety-three years. That is how long Hildebrandt’s of Williston Park has been open, but sadly not for much longer. Early last week, the village staple announced on their Facebook page that it will be closing its doors within the next few months.
“It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce Hildebrandt’s will no longer be in business within the next few months,” read a statement on Hildebrandt’s Facebook page. “Unrelated to COVID, the landlords of the building have decided to sell it and the new owners will be creating something different. It’s been 93 years of this amazing place and 46 years in our family. Although we don’t want to part with it, we are grateful for the memories and love built around this wonderful place. We have decided that we will be selling anything inside including our phone booth. Serious inquires only, please feel free to message us.”
The restaurant, which is lauded by many for its ice cream, has been the backdrop of big Hollywood films such as The Book of Henry and most recently Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Hildebrandt’s was also featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2011.
According to Hildebrandt’s website, the restaurant has been owned by four different families. First opened by Henry Hildebrandt in the late 1920s, the store was sold to Alma Steffens in the ’50s. In 1974, Steffens then sold it to Helen Baum who sold Hildebrandt’s to Alfred and Joanne Strano. Later on, the Stranos sold it to their daughter Susan, who owned and operated it with her husband, Bryan Acosta until her death in 2015. Since then, Bryan has kept Hildebrandt’s running with their daughter Hunter.
Once word came about that Hildebrandt’s was closing, the overwhelming support from the community was apparent. Facebook users left more than 1,000 comments and more than 2,000 shares on Hildebrandt’s post.
“Heartbroken for you all,” said one commenter. “Fingers crossed that you get the distinction of landmark. We can’t imagine life around here without Hildebrandt’s. This just seems so wrong.”
“I haven’t lived on Long Island for 20 years, but literally started crying when I saw your post of closing,” commented another. “I grew up going to Hildebrant’s with my parents and my best friend who lived in walking distance. Such sweet and wonderful memories.”
Hildebrandt’s said that they hope before they close that they can make the restaurant a landmark.
Hildebrandt’s is located at 84 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park.