Diner debacle: Rumors swirl about Kings Plaza Diner’s possible closure

Diner debacle: Rumors swirl about Kings Plaza Diner’s possible closure

It’s a plan of expansion and contraction that’s bound to give local diner lovers indigestion.

As they wolfed down their mouth-watering burgers or any number of three-star restaurant style entrees, customers at the Kings Plaza Diner were finding it hard to swallow a rumor that the famed eatery could be closed by next year.

The stomach-churning whispers were made public at last week’s Community Board 18 meeting, when District Manager Dottie Turano told the crowd that a Bed, Bath & Beyond was believed to open in the large property at 4125 Avenue U, once the award winning (the Daily News named it Diner of the Year) and Zagat-rated restaurant (readers praised its value and specialized cuisines) was closed.

“They must have gotten a tremendous amount of money to sell such a long established diner like this one,” said one surprised longtime diner patron. “This diner has been here for many, many years. I guess the mighty dollar speaks.”

But all may not be lost.

According to sources, the Kings Plaza Diner, which has quelled neighborhood hunger pangs for over 30 years, won’t close until after they expand their eatery empire and open a sister restaurant at the former Retro 50s diner on Cropsey Avenue in Coney Island, which can be seen off exit 6 on the Belt Parkway. The Retro 50s Diner, formerly the Nebraskan Diner, has been closed for nearly two years, diner lovers said.

At the same time, the owners of the Kings Plaza Diner are refuting the news, calling it nothing more than…well, you know.

“There’s nothing to it, it’s nothing but rumors,” assured John Stathos, owner Nick Stathos’ son. Calls for comment on their proposed expansion weren’t returned as this paper went to press.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath & Beyond also shot down the rumor, stating that she did “not have any information on a new store headed to Brooklyn at this time.”

The only evidence of any proposed change comes by way of city Department of Finance records, which showed a deed change at the Kings Plaza Diner back in February 2009 to Sigma Preferred Equities, which couldn’t be reached as this paper went to press. There has been no deed change for the Retro 50s diner since 1998. Residents, however, have noted that construction materials have been left at the site — possible evidence of an upcoming transformation.

Local realtors were as surprised as some diners, believing that if the rumors are true, they haven’t been finalized yet.

Yet Turano said that her information is solid.

“It looks like they’re going to open at the old Nebraskan shortly and then close the Kings Plaza in about a year,” she said firmly, refusing to divulge her sources.

But just how does she know this?

“I eat out a lot,” she said.

— with Gary Buiso

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