The full-size carousel at Ella's Deli may have spun for the last time as the owners of the unique Madison restaurant announced Wednesday it's closing at the end of the month unless a buyer steps forward.
The restaurant on a well-trafficked spot on E. Washington Ave. with the neon hot air balloon sign beckoning the hungry and the curious for more than four decades will serve its last bowl of chicken matzo ball soup and french fried dill pickles on Jan. 31.
But owners Ken and Judy Balkin, who have owned the restaurant for 41 years, hope it doesn't come to that.
"There's nothing to be sorry about," Ken Balkin said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
"We're optimistic someone in the community or from around the state will want to carry on the tradition here."
Customers don't just eat at Ella's Deli, they're entertained by the cool, retro gizmos and decorations on every wall, the ceiling and even the tables. Where else can diners eat burgers and slurp ice cream cones beneath a giant smiling banana on legs, a life-size robot with televisions in its stomach and Superman — cape flying — traveling on a track on the ceiling?