2. Old John’s Diner (1951)

Old John's Diner located on West 67th Street and Amsterdam Avenue

Old John’s Diner, formerly Old John’s Luncheonette, serves up comfort food in a family-like atmosphere. Old John’s Luncheonette, dating back to the 1950s, was set to close permanently as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. However, former Old John’s delivery worker and current restauranteur Louis Skibar took over ownership of restaurant, allowing the diner to stay open at its original location on West 67th Street despite widespread shuttering of diners across New York City due to rising rents. 

When word of a closure first reached patrons, they reacted with action. Regular customers created a GoFundMe when the restaurant first gave indications that it might cease operations. Molly Sherb, the organizer of the fundraiser, likened the luncheonette to “a historical landmark of the Upper West Side” writing, “I, along with many others, have formed connections and friendships with the employees over the years and in many ways they have come to feel like family.” The GoFundMe raised $8,710, but it was not enough to keep the luncheonette open. When Skibar took over, he revamped the space and the menu, but maintained the luncheonette’s classic features including its original egg cream.