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Customers Mourn Kenny Shopsin’s Death, Calling Him ‘Cranky’ and a ‘Treasure’

Many affectionately remember the Shopsin’s General Store owner’s generous, if “cranky” spirit

Shopsin’s General Store
Shopsin’s General Store
Photo by Nathan Kensinger

Following the death of Kenny Shopsin, the legendary owner of diner Shopsin’s General Store, customers are taking to social media to pay respects and share remembrances of the complicated man. People from best-selling author Meg Wolitzer to New York magazine food critic Adam Platt — who called Shopsin an “opinionated short order genius” — are among the fans.

Shopsin died this weekend, leaving behind a large legacy of a restaurant that could be both welcoming and judgmental all at once. Open since 1973, Shopsin’s General Store is known for its wacky 900-item menu, many rules, and communal spirit. But perhaps most famous of all is its mercurial leader, who has been known to both feed starving artists for free and tell other customers off.

Profiled by the New Yorker in 2002, Shopsin became a living legend and went on to write a cookbook, star in a documentary, and continue his daily work in the restaurant. Here are some remembrances of the influential man:


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