The celebrity-favorite Shalimar Diner, previously located in the Rego Park area of Queens, appeared in the spotlight many times since its founding in 1974. However, now the beloved diner is cooking up something entirely new for its beloved customers: a new location. Community members, along with come celebrity assistance, have saved the abandoned structure which will be transported to a new location on Long Island.
During its 45 years in business, the restaurant famously appeared in movies and television shows such as Blue Bloods and The Wolf of Wall Street, making it a recognizable diner in the ever-changing landscape of New York Cuisine. After closing in November 2018, the building faced demolition and left many New Yorkers longing for the diner’s classic flare. As a result, local leaders stepped forward to reinvent the diner while retaining its historic vibe.
After the diner shut its doors, Lenny Dykstra, 1986 World Series Champion baseball player, joined forces with Michael Perlman, a Forest Hills preservationist, to relocate the Shalimar Diner. Michael Perlman is a member of the Forest Hills community and after brokering deals to save restaurants such as New York City’s Moondance Diner and Cheyenne Diner, he earned the title “Diner Man,” by the New York Observer. They recruited the help of New York-based attorney Ronald Hariri, who helped them relocate the Shalimar to a new location in Riverhead, Long Island.
Photo by Michael Perlman
“The Shalimar Diner is a piece of Queens and New York City history,” said Hariri, who was raised having egg creams at the Shalimar Diner and lived nearby in Forest Hills. “We are working with an architect.” Shalimar was prefabricated by the popular Kullman Dining Car Company, which makes it easy to move. In 1974, it was delivered to its original, and current, location on a flatbed truck.
Together, the community created a “Save The Shalimar Diner” group in April 2019—led by Michael “Diner Man” Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council—to save the diner from demolition and find the building a new home. The original asking price for the diner’s structure was zero, the only thing buyers of the Shalimar Diner would have to pay for is transportation fees to the diners’ new home. Since their movement to relocate the diner, the group has found a buyer that has agreed to transport the structure and will likely reopen as a brewery and diner in Riverhead, Long Island.