Vegas Diner closing after 35 years

Calling in the chips: Bensonhurst eatery Vegas Diner is closing on June 26 after 35 years in business.
Brooklyn Daily
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They’re cashing out!

Owners of the Bensonhurst institution Vegas Diner confirmed the eatery will close its doors for good on June 26. The diner at the corner of 86th Street and 16th Avenue opened in 1982 and has attracted a loyal clientele through more than three decades of slinging hash. According to Frank Mavromichalis — one of four business partners who own the round-the-clock diner — they decided it was time to retire now that they were getting older.

“We had so many years of great memories here, met so many wonderful people,” Mavromichalis said. “We’ll always have those memories with us. It’s just time for us to move on.”

The eatery boasts a lengthy menu that offers the classic diner fare of burger and fries, but also features filet mignon and lobster tail for those looking to indulge. Longtime diners had personal favorites, such as their disco fries — steak cut fries with melted mozzarella and gravy on the side — or the heaps of beef brisket.

Many customers had already heard the sad news through the grapevine and were devastated by the expected shuttering. Mavromichalis said they would make a more official statement as the closing date nears, but word had already travelled fast around the neighborhood.

“When I heard it as a rumor that they were closing, my heart was broken because old Brooklyn is dying more and more,” said Claire Notwicz, a loyal diner of 30 years. “It’s another institution gone, and you can’t replace it.”

Notwicz, a Bensonhurst resident, recalled that when she was working as a nurse, Vegas Diner was the reliable choice for a meal following the random hours her shift ended. But what made her feel welcome were the times she would arrive with a swarm of parents and children after local school plays.

“You’re talking 10-year-olds with 60-plus parents. No advance notice, and if they could accommodate us, they made do,” Notwicz said. “They put up with the children and babies and don’t make you feel bad that you come out with a family.”

Stephen Lynn grew up eating at Vegas. His fondest memories as a 6-year-old were the regular dine-ins with his grandfather in 1997. His childhood favorite was a bacon-lettuce-tomato with fries — but since then, his appetite and tastes have since matured to a bacon cheeseburger with fries, and a banana split for desert.

“They got the best coleslaw in Brooklyn I would say,” said Lynn, who now lives across the street. “This is one of the few places that knows how to make a burger.”

For many patrons, Vegas Diner served as the late-night grub spot. Both Julie and Eddie Garcia have been eating at the noshery since it first opened. During their glory days, they would often go out clubbing with friends and get separated from the group, but they would always reconvene at the diner.

“You come in, you want a burger, you want a steak, you want a beer,” Eddie Garcia said. “The best was in our younger days right after the clubs.”

It has actually become a family tradition.

“Every weekend we used to come here after we went clubbing and dancing,” said Julie. “Even for our kids, they do the same thing now.”

And the employees are just as committed as the customers, as most of the staff has worked at the diner for more than a decade.

“For all those years, I was very, very happy. All my bosses are very nice and really friendly with all the staff,” said Rosa Salas, a 20-year employee. “I don’t think I’m going to find some place where I’m going to feel so comfortable.”

Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Joe says:
Why not sell the business to someone ?
March 31, 2017, 9:47 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Joe, the people who could afford a business like this don't want to work them and the people who can work them can afford the business.
Besides, the land the Vegas diner is on is worth a lot more than the building.
March 31, 2017, 3:56 pm
LABJ from Bay Ridge says:
Sad. The Vegas was a great diner. As another wrote, the area is changing by the day. I hope it is not another bank, car dealership or housing put up overnight.
March 31, 2017, 7:32 pm
Joan from Bensonhirst says:
Does anyone know what is going up where Vegas is
April 3, 2017, 8:57 pm
Garbage Disposal from Bay Ridge says:
No mention that this restaurant has been skimming off payroll and got their hands caught in the cookie jar?
April 4, 2017, 2:18 pm
bruce and sandra nemerowsky from coney island says:
We will miss coming t the Vegas Diner because the food is the best. No other place could compare..
April 8, 2017, 1:10 am
Ibrahim m from 11209 says:
I'm so sorry to my Vegas dinner and my work and my Castmar
April 12, 2017, 10:31 pm
Tiffany Thomas from Mill Basin says:
My name is Tiffany Thomas. I'm producing a video piece for CUNY TV in regards to small businesses that makes up a community going out of business. Would any of you be interested in being interviewed about the effects the closing of Vegas Diner will have on you? I can be reached at 347-641-3713 or
April 17, 2017, 9:30 pm
sandra from brooklyn heights says:
My friends started taking me here 20 years ago . I have a new group of friends and we celebrate holidays or just make everyday a holiday at the Vegas. My heart is broken.
April 24, 2017, 9:17 am
Lois Vella says:
Save Vegas Diner from closing. It's my favorite restaurant especially I don't live far from the diner
May 12, 2017, 8:05 pm
Katie from Bensonhurst says:
Vegas diner was my first job when i was 16 and i loved it there. Even when i was younger my mom wpuld take me pr if we had a craving for it late at night we would take a walk there and take it go or stay and eat. Even my going out nights. That was the place to go. Im gonna miss it.
May 19, 2017, 10:56 pm
larry from 11233 says:
You had to know it was coming. Same owners of the other staple, Del Rio.
May 20, 2017, 5:08 pm
Joe from 11214 says:
I remember my childhood years there the most. The bacon cheeseburgers and of course the onion rings were my favorite. I'm going to miss it so much.
May 29, 2017, 10:19 am
joe from 11228 says:
its all about the money
June 5, 2017, 8:52 am
joe from 11228 says:
its all about the money it rules
June 5, 2017, 8:52 am
Joe from Gravesend says:
Nothing like coming out of the club heading to Vegas diner and getting a pizza burger deluxe fries with mozzarella and brown gravy on the side
June 21, 2017, 2:51 am
Richard devaney from Ditmas park says:
Omg how awful..this place was an institution for 35yrs..bensonhurst(waldbaums gone) is a ghost of what it was..same with dyker heights too..all that'll be left in Bklyn will be artisinal hipster joints and foreign bodegas..sad.
June 25, 2017, 1:36 pm
Mike from DykER Heights says:
Del Rio, Vegas, El Greco, Richelieu all gone. Great memories! Thanks so much ! Sucks how much our piece of Brooklyn has changed. I know things change and that can't be stopped, but I wish when things changed it was for the better. Guess that's life....
June 25, 2017, 4:03 pm
Jo Peezy from Dyker says:
They wanted the money. It's all about money. The will probably put condos there.
June 25, 2017, 9:24 pm
Steve from Bensonhurst says:
The Vegas diner land was sold many months ago just as the Del Rio closed it's doors. Vegas diner land was sold to a corporation that has plans to erect a 9 story condo building.

Brooklyn isn't changing for anything better it just gets worse!
June 26, 2017, 8:48 am
CDM Jr. from Dykr says:
Mike! You left out Tiffany's on 4th Ave. Same story. Founding parents retired(deceased?) kids wanted no part of "working" the place, gave Tiffany's back to the bank. : (
July 27, 2017, 2:26 pm
Jim Neighbor from Dyker says:
Also so long Rocco's calamari, Fortne Cookie.
At least we still have Bridge View Diner 3rd Ave and
90th st. Please patronize it. Thanks
Oct. 5, 2017, 10:09 pm

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