Owner places Tom and Joe’s up for sale

An Altoona landmark is for sale, but it won’t be closing.

“We have it listed. We are trying to get out while it is going strong. We are at our peak right now. We’ve done so many things with the building and the business. I don’t want to be here forever,” said George Batrus Jr., owner of Tom and Joe’s Restaurant, 1201 13th Ave.

“When I got into the business 20 years ago, I had a vision to do all that we have done, and once I got to that point, it would be time to move on and look at other possibilities.”

In 1933, brothers Tom and Joe Batrus Sr. opened the diner across the street from its location at 1201 13th Ave., where it moved in 1950.

Batrus has listed the property with Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate with an asking price of $549,000 for the building, equipment and business.

The goal is to sell the business to someone who will keep it running, said Batrus, grandson of Tom Batrus.

“We’ve had some inquiries but no firm offers,” Batrus said.

The business has been on the market before.

“We were on the market two years ago for two days. I took it off the market after that and put on an addition, added some new equipment and re-did the kitchen,” Batrus said.

Batrus has not set a deadline for offers. He said if he doesn’t find a buyer, he will try to find someone to help him run the business.

“I just took three days off. I had never done that before. When I was off, the place was closed. I would like to see it operate without me. If we get to the point where we don’t sell, I will look at taking a few days off from time to time,” Batrus said. “This past week showed me it will survive if I am not here. I had a grand scheme, but the one thing I never had on my list was to replace me.”

Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, said he was shocked to hear Tom and Joe’s was up for sale.

“It is my hope whoever purchases it will continue to operate it in a very similar way that it has operated in the past. It is a landmark and something visitors to Altoona seek out, Hurd said. “Hopefully George will take on a partner and do something to allow Tom and Joe’s to continue to flourish in Blair County.”