After a fire forced it to close for six months, Tasty’s Diner in Ridgewood is ready to once again provide the community with the delicious food and attentive service it always has, while also updating with the times.
Back in April, an electrical fire inside one of the walls at Tasty’s Diner, located at 58-02 Myrtle Ave., forced owner George Lagos to shutter his establishment for half a year in order to make repairs.
However, the repairs he would have to make went far beyond what he thought he would have to do.
When Lagos’ father bought Tasty’s in 1987, it was a donut shop, and he changed it into a restaurant. The restaurant had an open kitchen area, and when building codes eventually changed, Lagos explained, Tasty’s open kitchen design was grandfathered in and was allowed to remain.
When the fire struck, Lagos was forced to conform to the new codes and had to redesign the entire restaurant.
“[We remodeled] the whole entire place,” Lagos said. “Outside, inside, backyard, everything. We changed everything top to bottom. Everything is new and shiny.”
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome was changing the kitchen after 30 years of having the same design and equipment, and getting the chefs to acclimate to all these new changes.
“The only saving grace of this whole six-month ordeal is we had a lot of time,” Lagos said. “We would put things and actually see if this was going to work, or if that was not going to work. We had a lot of time to sit around and actually think about and engineer a great cooking line. And the guys now love it.”
Lagos officially reopened his eatery on Oct. 18 — six months to the day of the fire — as a “soft opening” so he and the staff can get used to the way the new-and-improved Tasty’s operates.
In order to fully celebrate the reopening of Tasty’s, Lagos is holding a grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, right outside the restaurant on Myrtle Avenue.
The ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m., and there will be games and face painting for the children. Councilman Antonio Reynoso is also expected to make an appearance.
Lagos could not have been more excited to finally reopen Tasty’s and get back to doing what he does best.
“I have two beautiful daughters, and it was the equivalent of having another child. It was like, ‘Oh my God, thank God it’s over,’” Lagos said of reopening the restaurant. “It was my equivalent of child birth because it was such an ordeal. We fall into patterns, and my pattern was come into work and run the day-to-day operations. Now you’re dealing with something completely out of your realm, because I make cheese burgers; I’m not a contractor.”
Even though Lagos went through some growing pains trying to get Tasty’s up and running again, he never lost the support of the community.
When he put up a paper sign in the window after the fire alerting customers that they would be closed for renovations, he noticed that people started writing on that sign, offering him well wishes and a speedy renovation.
“It was almost like the passing of a person,” Lagos said. “It was so cool to see all that transpire.”
Although Tasty’s has a brand-new look, Lagos assured that the food and friendly service customers have grown to love over the last three decades are remaining the same.