It is a sad day for all Queens residents with the recent closing of both the Gold Star Diner in Bayside along with the Palace Diner in Flushing.
Everyone has their favorite local diner. In November 2010 we lost our beloved Scobee Grill in Little Neck.
Eating out at diners has been part of our lives since we were growing up as teenagers in the late 1960s and early 70s. Seventeen years ago, we met on a blind date at Scobee. We returned every year on the anniversary of that day. Last year, we packed our own lunch and sat outside in front of the still-vacant site.
We knew the staff on a first-name basis. Eating there was like joining the family for a home-cooked meal. Portions were generous and we often took home a doggie bag for the next day.
Neighborhoods all over Queens have seen changes over time. Many new immigrant groups sometimes favor their own ethnic foods and restaurants. Diners have also lost customers over time to numerous fast food restaurants. Many of their menus have expanded to also include breakfast items and a greater selection for either lunch or dinner. Other customers have gone to competitively priced restaurants specializing in Italian, Greek, Sea Food, Chinese or Steak.
In difficult economic times, it is important to patronize your local diner if you want to see them stay in businesses.
My wife and I don't mind paying a little more to help them survive. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill and taxes. If we can afford to eat out, we can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering takeout, we leave a dollar or two for the waiter or cook.
It is appreciated. These people are neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local jobs. If we don't patronize our local diner when we eat out, they don't eat either.
Let us all toast the good times we had at Scobees along with both the Gold Star and Palace diners. Our New Year's resolution is hoping we don't lose any more local diners.
Larry & Wendy Penner