CLEVELAND - The Diner on Clifton, a mainstay at the corner of Clifton Boulevard and West 117th Street for decades, will be closing at its current location with plans to move to a new building down the street.
"The thought of this ending is really emotional," said Perry Drosos, who has owned the restaurant for 27 years and renovated it in 1997. "A place like this does bring people together."
The popular restaurant had been without a lease for nearly a decade.
Constantine Katsaros, a representative of building owner Lee Solding Company, said the landlord had been in negotiations with Drosos for nearly a year and granted a six-month extension while Drosos secured a new location. However, with renovations including facade work and other construction set to begin soon, he said the building can't be occupied.
Katsaros owns Twist Social Club, also located in the building.
Drosos said he received a letter stating the landlord wanted him out by the end of the month, but an official closing date had not yet been set. He said he's finalizing the purchase of the former PNC Bank building at West 115th Street and Clifton Boulevard in the next few weeks, with the hope of reopening The Diner on Clifton there this summer.
"It is really really upsetting, but I know we can make it work across the street. I know we can," Drosos said. "It's just taking some time, and it's a big job to make it into a restaurant."
Drosos said he is drawing up plans to renovate the new location, which will be larger, with more parking and patio space. He said it will also offer cocktails and an expanded menu.
"I think the neighborhood will welcome it. I think it's going to be a good place," Drosos said.
Employees said they will be searching for temporary work for several months until the new location opens.
"I'm going to miss coming here everyday," 19-year Diner employee Maureen Szekelyi said. "It's something different every day."
Katsaros said a new restaurant will move into the vacant The Diner on Clifton space once renovations are completed.