By Carol Tannenhauser
Great news for the neighborhood! Old John’s Luncheonette, the classic 70-year-old diner on West 67th Street near Amsterdam Avenue — which closed in October to the dismay of the neighborhood and the entire city — will be reopened the first week in February, 2021, by a restaurateur with a remarkable connection to the place.
Louis Skibar started as delivery boy at Old John’s in 1984, at the age of 16, working his way up to short-order cook. He went on to open several restaurants of his own in Manhattan and Queens. According to a press release:
Louis renegotiated the Old John’s lease terms, ensuring the legacy of a diner that is near and dear to his heart. In addition to resurrecting the space, Louis is also bringing many of the former staff back too – one of the original 67th street crew members, Kathy Dellinger, will work on social media and photography for the new spot. And while the diner will get a bit of a facelift, the bones will be preserved and respected, and will still feature classic diner counter seating. Both indoor (once that is permitted again in the city) and outdoor seating will be available, as will takeout and/or delivery.
Old John’s will serve American Comfort Fare, including updated takes on many of its former dishes. It will operate daily, from 7AM – 12AM, and will also offer the neighborhood a full-service coffee bar, along with an assortment of to-go baked goods each morning. The diner will look to serve the neighborhood with a full service bar, featuring locally-sourced spirits.
Note: A reader commented correctly that Old John’s wasn’t at its current location in 1984. Here is the explanation, according to the press release: “The restaurant was forced to close in its original location due to development on the block (the diner was originally located at 66/Broadway for about 40 years). Old John’s would eventually relocate to W 67th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue, becoming a neighborhood mainstay for the next 30 years.”