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Mike’s Diner in Astoria Has Closed, Served Neighborhood for Nearly a Century

Mike’s Diner in Astoria, pictured, appears to have closed for good (Photo: Facebook)

Sept. 9, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

An Astoria diner that has served multiple generations of customers since the 1920s appears to have closed for good.

Mike’s Diner, known for its classic American-style food options, looks to have shuttered following a financial dispute with the landlord over unpaid rent.

A sign affixed to the diner’s 22-37 31st St. front window indicates the operator’s lease for the premises has ended.

The signage reads: “End of Lease. We appreciate your patronage throughout the years.”

The Queens Gazette, which was the first to report the news, posted a picture of the sign on its Facebook page yesterday.

There have not been any posts on Mike’s Diner’s social media pages pertaining to the closure. The Queens Post was unable to reach the operators Friday, while the phone line at the diner has been disconnected.

However, court documents appear to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the diner’s abrupt closure.

The landlord, Zan Diakos, filed suit against the operators in March claiming they owed him around $74,000, which included missed rent payments and real estate taxes.

In August, a court issued a warrant to evict the operators from the diner.

The closure of the diner brings an end to a much-loved Astoria staple which is located by the Ditmars subway station.

Mike’s Diner was first established in 1928 as an old train car-style establishment.

The old structure has long been torn down with the diner undergoing several makeovers over the decades. The current 1,700 square foot premises was gut renovated in 2014 with new tables, booths and ceilings installed. The diner currently features French-style doors with its entire frontage open to the street.

“This is a landmark to Astoria,” the operators told the Astoria Post when the renovations were taking place eight years ago. “We are just changing it with the times.”

The diner was known for its breakfast sandwiches, omelets, pancakes and waffles.

It also offered burgers and seafood as well as Greek, Mexican and Italian specials. The diner also had a range of milkshakes and desserts on its menu such as cheesecakes, chocolate puddings and lemon meringue pies.

Many customers took to Facebook to share their thoughts on the closure.

“A wonderful place to eat – sad to see them go,” wrote one poster.

“Used to go there on Friday night with my mom and dad,” wrote another former customer. “We’d meet my dad at the train station and then have dinner. Great memories and wonderful food.”

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Larry Penner

How disappointing to learn about closing of Mike’s Diner in Astoria. I have enjoyed many excellent meals for decades when frequenting any one of many local diners. Over the years, we have seen the demise of too many diners. Diners have been part of my life from teenage years to today. Eating out is a periodic ritual with either friends or family. Portions are generous. Who never took a doggie bag home with leftovers to eat the next day. Between the customary soup, salad, rolls, coleslaw and pickles along with the main course — dinner could satisfy the heartiest appetite. Many time, we bagged our desserts to go.

Neighborhoods all over NYC have seen changes over time. Many new immigrant groups sometimes favor their own ethnic foods and restaurants. Diners have also lost customers over time to numerous fast food restaurants. Many of their menus have expanded to also include breakfast items and a greater variety of items to select from for lunch or dinner.

Remember these people are our neighbors. Our local entrepreneurs who own and operate diners have continued to invest in our community creating new employment opportunities. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize our local restaurants, they don’t eat either.

Why not honor the found memories we had at diners which have come and gone by continuing to patronize our open diners. Here’s hoping that handful of remaining Queens diners still in business don’t go the way of the dinosaurs into permanent extinction.

Larry Penner — a frequent customer of diners since the 1960’s)

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