Rising rents combined with a changing neighborhood identity forced the Rego Park diner to close.
“It really does suck that it’s closing,” said local resident Stephanie, who frequented the diner. “I walk there with my kids a lot for breakfast or lunch on a half day of school.
“I have killed a lot of time there too with a cup of coffee and view of the busy streets," she added.
The expansive menu, as well as a generous parking lot, allowed Shalimar Diner to outlive other delis and diners around the borough.
Minutes from Shalimar Diner was Ben’s Best Deli, which closed at the end of June after 73 years in business. And the Flagship Diner in Briarwood shuttered mid-July.
The diner’s retro decor was embraced by Hollywood, with the diner appearing as a backdrop in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Rumors have been circulating since January regarding the future of Shalimar Diner.
“I’m too upset,” said owner Chris Karayiannis last Wednesday while manning the cash register and greeting longtime patrons. “We had an ad out for Thanksgiving meals, and that’s the only thing that stopped us from closing sooner.”
Many community members stopped by the diner in its final days to say goodbye to Karayiannis and his staff.
Rego Park residents Gloria Nash and her mother Inge had breakfast together one last time.
“We wanted to see the owner and say goodbye,” said Nash. “I’m really into old diners so I decided to stop by before it closed so I could take some pictures. There are so few diners left.
“It’s a sad ending for the neighborhood, and we don’t know what’s going to replace it,” she added.