A downtown Phoenix institution may be forced to close because of the owner’s battle with cancer.
“I’ve known for two years,” said Michael Ratner, owner of Tom’s Tavern. “But I’m hard headed and I didn’t want to give in to anything”
The cancer just compounds other problems for the tavern and other downtown businesses, from a bad economy, to a downtown that suffers after sunset, plus a lot of construction. But it’s the cancer that may push Ratner’s historic place over the edge.
Tom’s Tavern opened during the Great Depression, in 1929. It’s been a diner and pool hall ever since with Presidents and Princes coming by to grab a bite over the years. You can see the photographic proof around the restaurant. It’s also the kind of place that regular customers have name plackards on chairs around the place.
But owner Ratner can barely get around with a walker and he is in serious pain, making running the restaurant next to impossible. He hasn’t been able to be there in weeks.
“I have hope it will work out,” Ratner said with a tear. “I think the tradition of Tom’s can live on.”