NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After 53 years in business, Flagship Diner in Briarwood is closing its doors for good at 4 p.m. Sunday.
A staff of 38 people will have to find new jobs after a developer bought the plot of land and plans to build an apartment complex.
The three current owners were managers back in 1965 when the diner opened. They bought it in the 80s when the original owner retired and fought to keep it open through the end of its 25-year lease to October of next year.
“This has been a very family-oriented place,” owner Vinny Pupplo said. “We don’t get a lot of transient customers here. It’s the same people week after week for years, some people come every Saturday, Sunday. Some people come every Monday through Friday.”
After a prolonged legal battle, the owners agreed to a buyout.
“We love this diner. I’ve been coming here since I was what? 7 (year old),” said customer Eugenia Poulon.
How does she feel now that it’s closing?
“Are you kidding” she said. “I hate it. I hate it.”
Poulon is not alone – one former Queens family now living in Florida added they came back to the diner every three months just for the salmon cakes.
The owners say they’ll be cleaning up the diner this coming week. They have an auction scheduled for Tuesday, where they’ll sell everything from plates to booths from inside the restaurant.