East Side Diner closes 16 months after opening

East Side Diner pictured on a recent night (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

East Side Diner, which opened at the corner of First Avenue and East 23rd Street on Labor Day of 2016, suddenly closed last Wednesday.

Owner Nick Kaloudis, who opened the business in a space that had previously been home to another diner, the East Side Café, told Town & Village he decided to cut his losses due to a few factors.

Reached on the phone, Kaloudis said the main issue is that he recently learned he was on the hook for about $50,000 in back taxes that were owed by the prior diner. He said he fought the landlord, Magnum Real Estate Group, over this in court and lost, and is now attempting to get out of his lease five years early. Other reasons for his deciding to close are a rent hike and the raising of the minimum wage.

Continue reading

This restaurant flipper says he’ll be keeping the East Side Diner

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After nearly four decades, the East Side Café on East 23rd Street, west of First Avenue, closed earlier this summer. However, unlike so many Manhattan businesses that have been shutting their doors for good, this was just temporary, with the place sold, renovated and then re-branded as the East Side Diner. Technically, the place had always been a diner, so the name change was simply a matter of hammering home what the places does, according to the new owner, Nick Kaloudis.

Kaloudis, 38, comes from a family long ensconced in the diner biz; his cousin Gus Kassimis is the owner of the soon-to-be-opened Tivoli at the former Lyric Diner space on Third Avenue.

Together, Kaloudis and other family members have purchased 17 diners around the city, and whenever possible the properties they’re in. However, Kaloudis flips the businesses rather than run them. The East Side Diner, however, will be different. This is the first time he’s purchased a business on his own due to the former owner, Spiros Mouzakitis, wanting to retire.

“He’s been on the same block for 38 years,” explained Kaloudis. “After a while you’re tired of 15-16 hour shifts.”

Continue reading