Old John’s Luncheonette, the diner on 67th Street and Amsterdam Avenue that closed in October after more than 60 years, is reopening next month. And renderings show that the bar will have a 1950s soda fountain feel to it.
New owner Louis Skibar — who once worked as a deliveryman and short order cook at Old John’s — plans to keep a lot of the classic recipes. But he’s also got some new goodies in store, he told Eater.
For the revival, Skibar has signed on chef Grayson Schmitz, a former Top Chef contestant whose past experience includes stints at fine dining restaurants like Jean-Georges and Wallsé, to oversee the kitchen. The diner will also have its first-ever dedicated pastry chef in Tanya Ngangan, previously the co-owner of seven-year-old West Village patisserie Bisous Ciao, which shut down in May.
Crowd-favorite dishes like the blueberry pancakes, the Belgian waffles, and the chicken pot pie will remain on the menu, but Schmitz has plans to update the recipes, Skibar says. Ngangan is building a morning pastry program where everything will be baked in-house, and plans to recreate classic diner desserts for Old John’s including sundaes, ice cream sodas, and egg creams.
Of course, you probably won’t be able to pull up to the counter and order an egg cream when it first opens, because of Covid-19 restrictions. Skibar will be putting together a heated outdoor seating area, with its own retro look to mirror the inside, according to Eater.