NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When the Shalimar Diner in Rego Park, Queens closed its doors last November, restaurant patrons were devastated.

The diner had a starring role in the 2016 film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” but the sun has set on the iconic restaurant – now surrounded by green construction barriers

The wrecking ball is set to swing in 30 days as developers move forward with demolition.

(Credit: CBS2)

“I went there most days for lunch. It was really a nice place. The owners were there a long time,” former customer Joe Gross said.

The Shalimar has been a fixture in the neighborhood for 45 years, but in the end, the land was just too valuable. The lot sold last year for $6.5 million.

“It is an ultimate public institution. New York City has lost many free standing diners, and it’s a sad day in New York City history when our city is losing its cultural cornerstone,” chairman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Michael Perlman said.

The local papers have dubbed Perlman “The Diner Man” after he helped save two city diners from being demolished. He’s hoping the Shalimar Diner will be his third.

The famous diner may have a second chance at serving customers however, thanks to a one-of-a-kind offer.

Perlman says the Shalimar can be removed in sections and says whoever wants it won’t have to pay for it.

“I’m really hoping the Shalimar Diner will be saved by a transport. Diners were manufactured to be moved,” Pearlman explained.

He says the new owner of the land has agreed to give it away for free, minus transportation and rigging costs.

“I’m determined to succeed,” the preservationist declared.

He’s also determined to save a decades-old neighborhood restaurant before time runs out for good.


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