Nothing finer than improving this diner

Cheyenne Diner’s Red Hook–bound
Michael Perlman

When the rail-car-style Cheyenne Diner relocates to Red Hook from Manhattan next month, it will have waterfront views, a beer garden and an upgraded menu from the standard greasy spoon fare, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

“It’s going to be a little more upscale with a seasonal menu and maybe organic,” said Mike O’Connell, the proud new owner of one of Manhattan’s last Art Deco eateries, which has been closed for months in anticipation of the relocation from Hells Kitchen.

O’Connell, the son of Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell, swooped in to buy the endangered 1940s truck stop in April for the blue-plate special price of $5,000.

The diner will get perched on a platform on Reed Street, between Van Brunt and Conover streets, to prop it up for views of the Upper New York Bay. Not bad for a joint that had been stuck on Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street in Gaphattan.

The new location is across the street from the elder O’Connell’s Red Hook Stores, a Civil War-era warehouse, now home to artists’ studios and the Fairway supermarket.

The popularity of the grocery’s cafeteria and al fresco seating proves there’s an unmet culinary demand for restaurants in this remote part of South Brooklyn, Mike O’Connell said.

“We saw how many people were coming to Fairway’s café on the weekends,” said O’Connell, explaining his motivation for becoming a restaurateur, “and there are not many places for people to go to eat, aside from Good Fork and Baked,” two popular options on Van Brunt Street.

His plans also call for on-site parking and an outdoor movie screen with a spring 2009 opening.

Once opened, it will join Diner, a Williamsburg hipster magnet, as Brooklyn’s refurbished, retro diners.