3. Empire Diner


The Empire Diner, known for its black and white chrome exterior, was built by Fodero Dining Car Company in 1946. After closing its doors in the early 1970s, the stand-alone diner was brought back to life by owners Jack Doenias, Carl Laanes, and Richard Ruskay in 1976. Due in part to its iconic facade, the diner became immensely popular and went on to appear in many films.

It served an important role in the Chelsea Renaissance and remained in business for 34 years, until the landlords of the property refused to renew the lease in 2010. The restaurant later re-opened (and shut down) twice: first as The Highliner in 2012, and then again in 2014, under the management of Chopped chef Amanda Frietag. It reopened again in the last year.