Nova Scotia

Masstown's 'trucker's angel' shutting restaurant amid staff shortage

Crystal Blair's restaurant was famous for giving out free meals to long-haul truckers early in the pandemic. Now, citing staff shortage issues, the iconic Glenholme Loop Petro Pass restaurant is closing down.

Glenholme Loop Petro Pass restaurant has plenty of customers, but too few workers, owner says

Blair has been working at the restaurant for 34 years, 15 as the owner. (Robert Guertin, CBC)

A bustling spot on a lonely bit of road, the Glenholme Loop Petro Pass restaurant near Masstown, N.S., doesn't look like it's closing today.

But the popular pit-stop is packing up; the owner says it's just too difficult to find staff these days. 

"I'm certainly not going because I want to," said Crystal Blair. But Friday will be her last day running the restaurant. 

Blair is known around the Masstown area as the trucker's angel. Blair's restaurant, also known as Angel's Diner, gained recognition early in the pandemic for providing free meals to long-haul truckers.

Blair personally does most of the work around the restaurant. (Robert Guertin, CBC)

During the first lockdown in 2020, the restaurant closed to the public, but Blair opened for those long-haulers needing a shower and a meal, with the help of donations and volunteers from the community.

"I just went into a panic. I was like, 'I can't do this to them, they need me,'" said Blair at the time in an interview with CBC.

Sad to say goodbye

Since the restaurant opened back up to the public, Blair has been struggling to find more staff.

"I just can't do it all by myself; you see this place is busy. The last week has been super busy," said Blair.

Since Blair announced the iconic restaurant was closing, the place has been packed with truckers, bikers and locals alike, dining on hot turkey sandwiches, homemade pies and cup after cup of coffee.

"We've had record sales every day. It's phenomenal that people come in for one last meal and to say goodbye. There's been a lot of tears shed from me and the customers," said Blair.

"I'm so glad restrictions are gone because I've been getting so many hugs." 

Blair has been working at the restaurant for 34 years, including 15 as the owner. 

Local David Weisman has been coming to the restaurant since 1993. He remembers Blair working there as a teenager. 

"She truly is one of a kind. The world's going to miss Crystal Blair. I know I will," said Weisman. 

Truckers and locals who stop by the restaurant refer to Blair as the trucker's angel. (Robert Guertin, CBC)

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