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A Rego Park Diner, Part of the Neighborhood for Decades, to Close Sunday

Nov. 19, 2018 By Meghan Sackman

The Shalimar Diner, a Rego Park institution that has been in business for 45 years, is closing Sunday.

The owners of the 63-68 Austin St. diner posted a sign on their door stating that they will be closing on Nov. 25.

Demi Karayiannis, who has owned the diner with her husband since it opened in 1974, said that their lease is coming to an end and they were unable to afford the proposed rent.

“The lease is up and they want too much money,” she said.  Furthermore, business is not as brisk as it once was as newer people don’t frequent diners as much.

“The neighborhood has changed,” she said. “Our original customers got older, moved to Florida, and passed away…and different people have come.”

The establishment has been part of the fabric of Rego Park for decades. The location has been used in movie sets, such as Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The closure is not completely unexpected. It had been widely reported that the lease was ending in November and that the site was likely to make way for an apartment complex. The owners, however, denied that they were closing until now.

Several diners in Queens have closed in recent times to make way for development. The Flagship Diner in Briarwood closed in July and the Georgia Diner on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst closed in March.

The owner of the Shalimar Diner property, listed as Alderton Associates, has yet to file development plans with the Department of Buildings.

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24 Comments

Glenda Kuller

I went there one time when I took home A whole Cheesecake
after enjoying A tasty Breakfast there! The cheesecake was as grand as the ambience!

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Willie D.

Many Great Memories of Shalimar. My wife and I would determine how big our son was when we would sit in a booth. At first, he couldn’t reach the floor. My son is now 24 y.o.
GREAT STAFF & GREAT FOOD!! GREEDY LANDLORD closes another neighborhood landmark!! SHAME ON YOU!!! SHALIMAR …YOU ARE IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER!!!

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Renee Katzman

I am so sad to learn that the Shalimar is closing. My friends and I came all the way from Brooklyn to eat there.

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Ed Brown

We would take my Mother-in-law every Thursday. She loved pea soup. We even celebrated with much of our family her birthdays, up until she was 102. Always a friendly greeting. It was like home. Sad to see it all ending. Thanks for the memories.

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Mary F.

End of an era. The Neptune Diner in Astoria is also supposed to close soon for a new building to be put on the site. First, the fountains and the candy stores closed. Now, the diners. I once asked for an ice cream soda in a modern, diner replica and when I got a blank look, I instructed those good-hearted, but clueless people how to make one and gave them the recipes for a chocolate egg cream, a float, and a malted so they could make them for themselves at home. You know you are a dinosaur when the food professionals haven’t heard of what would have been a basic in your past.

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Adam

Sad commentary on what is happening to the neighborhood epitomized by the recent closings of Ben’s and Shalimar. Either more residential buildings or empty storefronts because landlords cannot get the rents they want. Parking is impossible And the only businesses that can make it here are 99 cent stores, Medicaid mills, and chains. The neighborhood has no more personality. So you ask why I stay? Access to mass transit and close proximity to Manhattan. Even that is becoming a challenge.

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Adam

Sad commentary on what is happening to the neighborhood epitomized by the recent closings of Ben’s and Shalimar. Either more residential buildings or empty storefronts because landlords cannot get the rents they want. Parking is impossible And the only businesses that can make it here are 99 cent stores, Medicaid mills, and chains. The neighborhood has no more personality. So you ask why I stay? Access to mass transit and close proximity to Manhattan. Even that is becoming a challenge.

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Mike Humble

Sad that this diner is leaving. It is one of the few diners in the area that has parking. Now we will have another high rise in the neighborhood. Great! That is all we need is more people and cars. The politicians line their pockets with money from the developers. No one cares about the little people.

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MC

Hopefully they’ll put parking for the 88 million illegal silent electric bike delivery scooters driving on the sidewalks.

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Dawn

So sad to see the memories of the past diminish 🙁 Having been born & raised in Rego & Forest Hills, we frequented Shalimar during the mid seventies until I married and relocated upstate NY. Whenever we had the chance to visit my daughter in Sunnyside, we would try and stop there for a relaxing bite to eat before heading back North. Only good things to you and your family for the future!

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Bonnie

Not at all surprised about their closing. The quality of management, food, prices, all declined. However, I will miss all the staff. They are very hard working people. I send the Best of luck to you All. We will always consider that spot the Shalimar. Thank you all for your service. Sorry to see you go.

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Linda Ferrara

I loved the Shalimar….years ago it was the place to go after a night of dancing and drinking! Great food!!!! They will always be remembered highly and fondly!

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Angela

Always joyful wait staff. Spent so many days there with my precious Mom over lunch and a nice hot cup of coffee. We laughed and we cries while she shared her life’s stories. The day she died my brother and I went from the hospital to Shalimar, to try and get our sorrow and thoughts together. Sorry to hear it’s closing. Thanks for all the wonderful days…… .

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Steven Plotkin

My wife and I would go to Shalimar Diner, our favorite waitress was Carol, who we will really miss!!!

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Sara Ross

No!!!!! They are the best diner around! Food was always good and prices reasonable. Where are local politicians to fight for them? Yet the Russians can afford their oversized spaces? I’m very sad to see a great place go. I hope the landlord gets the worst flu the CDC has ever seen.

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Sally

Didn’t help that their kitchen had many health citations!! It’s gone down hill over the years.

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Jeff

So many twin cheeseburger platters there. My mother used to practically live in that place and YES she moved to Florida. Thanks for the good food and memories.

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Andrea

Yes people who used to go to the Shalimar have passed on or move. I moved to Texas and my parents moved to Florida. But when my parents go to New York, the Shalimar is usually one of their stops. The Shalimar will be missed.

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