Williamsburg’s historic Kellogg’s Diner welcomed back customers for the first time today in six months following the pandemic-related shutdown on indoor dining in March. Yet the diner’s owner Irene Siderakis tells Pix11 that the neighborhood staple — located at 518 Metropolitan Ave., at the corner of Union Ave. — is in danger of closing for good due to the current 25 percent limit on seating inside.
“We’ll take it, but it’s not what we want, it’s not what we need,” Siderakis tells Pix 11. She says without indoor dining at half capacity being introduced very soon, she’s unsure how much longer she can keep the diner open.
Like other restaurateurs across the city who are keen on resuming indoor dining, Siderakis questioned why the rest of the state was allowed indoor dining at half capacity while New York is restricted to 25 percent. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the city could start fifty percent occupancy in November if COVID-19 cases remain low, but a recent spike in cases in some parts of Brooklyn and Queens, has created some uncertainty about the return of half-capacity indoor in the coming months.
Still, Kellogg’s could be the latest NYC diner that’s been forced to shutter due to the financial downturn from the coronavirus crisis. More than a 1,000 restaurants have permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, and many have been diners like Boerum Hills’ Carroll Gardens Classic Diner, Chelsea’s 24-hour Good Stuff Diner, and Queens’ Forest Hills Diner. Freestanding diners like Kelogg’s have been especially hard hit in recent years, due to rising rent prices on single-story buildings, and only a handful remain in New York City.
Kellogg’s Diner has been a neighborhood staple since the 1940s. Siderakis’ husband, Chris purchased the diner in 2013, but after his death two years ago, Irene has been at the helm.