By Larry Penner
The closing of Briarwood’s Flagship Diner is disappointing. I have enjoyed many excellent meals for decades when frequenting any one of our many local diners, including the Flagship. Over the years, we have seen the demise of too many others, including the Bel Aire (Astoria), Gold Star (Bayside), Seville (Douglaston), Sage (Elmhurst), Saravan (Flushing), Palace (Flushing), Future (Fresh Meadows), Fame (Jamaica), Scobees Grill (Little Neck) and others.
Diners have been part of my life from teenage years to today. Eating out is a periodic ritual with either friends or family. Portions are generous. Who never took a doggy bag home with leftovers to eat the next day? Between the customary soup, salad, rolls, coleslaw and pickles along with the main course, dinner could satisfy the heartiest appetite. Many times we bagged our desserts to go.
Neighborhoods all over Queens have seen changes over time. Many new immigrant groups sometimes favor their own ethnic foods and restaurants. Diners have also lost customers to numerous fast food restaurants. Many of their menus have expanded to also include breakfast items and a greater variety of items to select from for lunch or dinner.
Remember these people are our neighbors. Our local entrepreneurs who own and operate diners have continued to invest in our community, creating new employment opportunities without the assistance of federally funded taxpayers’ stimulus dollars. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize our local restaurants, they don’t eat either.
Why not honor the found memories we had at the Bel Aire, Gold Star, Fame, Future, Neptune, Palace, Sage, Saravan, Scobees Grill, Seville and the Flagship, which have come and gone, by continuing to patronize our remaining diners.
Here’s hoping that Queens diners, including the Bayside, Court Square, Douglaston Parkway, Kanes, Neptune, Nevada, North Shore Terrace and a handful of others still in business don’t go the way of the dinosaurs into permanent extinction.