The Georgia Diner in Elmhurst will be closing for good on March 25 after 40 years of business.
Management confirmed the pending closure to the Chronicle last Friday, one week after a demolition permit for the structure was filed with the Department of Buildings.
“Some of our customers are in mourning. They feel sick in their stomach,” diner general manager John Singh told the Chronicle in a phone interview. “They’ve grown up here, they’ve been coming for 30 or 40 years. But what are you going to do?”
In addition to the demolition permit, the 86-55 Queens Blvd. plot the diner sits on was sold on Jan. 22 for $14.25 million.
The buyer, Justive Ave. Tower LLC, is the same entity that purchased a portion of the eatery’s parking lot for $26.5 million on Nov. 1, 2014.
Permits were approved for an 18-story, 181-foot-tall mixed-use tower at that site, and Singh told the Chronicle that demolition of the diner is to make way for the structure — which is under construction.
The general manager added that about 50 people work at the Georgia Diner, and the most senior employees will be transferred to its sister eatery, the Nevada Diner — which will be rebranded with the Georgia name — a few blocks away at 80-26 Queens Blvd.
“Some of them are going transfer to the new location, depending on how many we need there, and some will get laid off. We can’t keep everyone,” he said. “The folks who have worked here very long will stay, but the new ones, they’ll have to find another job.”
In a Monday interview, Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said he was upset to hear the rumor of the diner's pending closure was true.
"It was one of the best diners in Queens. I held many a meeting in there," Dromm said. "It was a great meeting place as well as a great eating place."
The Georgia Diner is the latest in a long line of similar restaurants in Queens to close, something the lawmaker said is incredibly disappointing for those in the borough who grew up eating at such establishments.
"It's a shame that we're losing these mom-and-pop diners, where you walk in and see so many familiar faces," he said, adding he'll miss ordering the cheeseburger deluxe. "It's sad to see, but these are the times we live in."