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Classic Queens Diner Shutters After 45 Years

Shalimar Diner in Rego Park could no longer survive in today’s restaurant climate

Shalimar Diner at 6368 Austin St. in Rego Park
6368 Austin St.
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Another New York City diner bites the dust, this time after 45 years in Queens’ Rego Park.

Shalimar Diner at 63-68 Austin St. closed this past weekend after owners could not come to a lease agreement with their landlord. Co-owner Demi Karayiannis told the Forest Hills Post that the restaurant, opened in 1974, would not have been able to sustain the new asking rent, especially with slowing business in recent years as diners have fallen out of favor.

“The neighborhood has changed,” Karayiannis said to the Forest Hills Post. “Our original customers got older, moved to Florida, and passed away — and different people have come.”

Over the years, Shalimar Diner has had a few brushes with Hollywood, even appearing in blockbuster the Wolf of Wall Street. It was not a standout restaurant — the menu had typical diner dishes such as breakfast plates, wraps, and burgers — but it stood out for being a stronghold in an area where other longtime establishments have been dying away.

The shutter comes just months after another Rego Park institution, Ben’s Best Deli, closed in June after 73 years in business. And other classic diners around the city have been unable to survive the current restaurant climate either — recent months have seen the closures of Silver Spurs, Garden Grill, and Georgia Diner.