By Jenna Bagcal
The Karayiannis family has been feeding the community at Shalimar Diner since 1974. But next week, the Rego Park eatery will be shutting its doors for the final time.
According to Demi Karayiannis, the wife of co-owner Chris Karayiannis, rising lease costs forced them to make the tough decision to close their business.
“It’s very sad, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Our lease is up and we can’t afford what they’re asking for,” said Demi Karayiannis.
The last day for the diner at 63-68 Austin St. will be Sunday, Nov. 25, she added.
Shalimar is the third restaurant that Chris Karayiannis and his brother opened since they came from Greece.
“We used to have the Shangri La by Queens Boulevard and we used to have the Talk of the Town in Manhasset,” said Demi Karayiannis.
Karayiannis said that they had been trying to negotiate a lease with the landlords, but it “didn’t work out.” It was reported that their lease would be up this November, but they had denied the rumor until now.
Despite the “forced retirement,” in Karayiannis’ words, she recalls fond memories from the past 45 years. The diner was used in Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
“We have customers here that were babies in the strollers and now they come with their babies in the strollers,” said Karayiannis. “Everybody is very upset. Everybody’s crying. My phone doesn’t stop ringing. It’s been like a family here to everybody.”
The 71-year-old grandmother said that she will spend her free time with her grandson, who was just born three months ago.
It was reported that Alderton Associates, the owners of the property, had not yet filed their future plans for property on the Department of Buildings website.