NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A beloved Brooklyn diner in danger of closing for good has gotten help from neighbors determined to save it. They are rallying around the owner, a single mother of four.
“It has been here since 1928. It should never be closed down, ever,” Kellogg’s Diner owner Irene Siderakis told CBS2’s Dave Carlin on Sunday.
Metropolitan Avenue has long basked in the neon energy and classic charm of Kellogg’s Diner. But Siderakis is on the verge of closing it.
Her husband ran it from when they bought it in 2013 up until April of 2018 when without warning what is believed to be an allergic reaction to medicine killed him.
“My husband died. I never asked for a penny from anyone. I got up and I did everything on my own,” Siderakis said.
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Learning the business was difficult. Then came COVID-19, which she contracted. It was tough not just on her, but also on her four sons, who range in age from 11 to 17.
“Another fear that came inside the boys that, ‘Oh no, we might be losing mom, too.’ It was horrible,” Siderakis said.
Federal grant money gave the diner only enough for eight weeks’ worth of expenses. Its otherwise prime location has a big drawback. The diner could not create very much outdoor dining, due to the intersection of Metropolitan and Union being so busy, Carlin reported.
Only four small tables could fit in the slender alley, and though it is now finally seating indoors, New York City eateries are permitted just 25% capacity.
The diner is also in a recently declared COVID-19 transmission hot spot, in a zip code being watched. However, it is not in the nine getting restricted, Carlin reported.
“We are working at a loss. I am completely off the payroll right now and I’m the boss,” Siderakis said.
A GoFundMe effort, currently with close to $5,000, has a goal of pulling together $100,000.
“For my boss, I really need to help her because she’s working so hard and she has four kids,” diner employee Evelyn Perez said.
“We need more people to come,” waiter Mike Sim added.
“Just order a tuna sandwich. You’ll be doing a good deed,” Siderakis said.
“New Yorkers are good people. They’ll come out and support her,” Williamsburg resident Patricia Garbin said.
“I have faith in the people of New York. I don’t have faith in our officials. I don’t,” Siderakis said.
But there is faith in this strong woman, that with some help, she’ll make sure this diner is not done after all.
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