Here’s one we didn’t see coming: Brooklyn’s 96-year-old Kellogg’s Diner is turning into an all-night restaurant with Tex-Mex food and cocktails.
Kellogg’s, which has been open on the corner of Metropolitan and Union avenues since 1928, has been up for sale since January when it went bankrupt. Louis Skibar, who owns the Manhattan diners Coppelia and Old John’s, is the new owner. He’s going to turn Kellogg’s into a 24-hour restaurant with Tex-Mex and classic diner foods. It will be run by Jackie Carnesi, an alum of the Brooklyn restaurants Nura and Roberta’s.
The diner will close soon for renovations and reopen in February. Its retro dining room is getting an update that includes a new cocktail bar, Skibar said from the restaurant on Monday. In the meantime, Kellogg’s is open with a shorter menu that has steak frites, smash burgers, chicken pot pie, and more.
In Manhattan, Skibar is known for his diners. He runs Coppelia, an affordable Cuban restaurant that stays open 24 hours, and he helped revive Old John’s Luncheonette, which was open on the Upper West Side for almost 70 years. He also owns the Mexican restaurants Toloache and El Fish Shack Marisqueria.
“We are proud and humbled to continue the long rich history of this beloved neighborhood eatery,” a note on the Kellogg’s menu says. “The new management will respect the legacy of the diner and also incorporate some changes in the aesthetics, as well as the menu.”
Can a new owner and chef turn things around? Even before the pandemic, Kellogg’s was struggling to turn a profit. The restaurant had become known for its high prices and low-quality food, even for a diner. In thousands of online reviews, customers complained the restaurant wasn’t what it used to be.
Kellogg’s most recent owner, Irene Siderakis, took over the business from her husband Chris Siderakis, who died unexpectedly in 2018. “I had no idea how to run a diner or if I could,” she told the New York Times in 2021. “I had to make a choice: sell the diner or learn the business on my own and show my boys we can do this and persevere.”
By August 2021, the diner was roughly a million dollars in debt. It owed $300,000 in unpaid rent, plus another $750,000 in unpaid expenses ranging from utility bills to legal fees from a 2019 federal wage theft lawsuit, court records show.
Kellogg’s entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy at the start of the year and was listed for sale with an asking price of $2.5 million. Marc Yaverbaum, a broker with MYC & Associates, who handled the sale, says bids to take over the lease started at $1.8 million. He declined to disclose the terms of the deal.