The fire began at 4:30 p.m. in the kitchen and quickly spread. Over 60 firefighters were necessary to put out the fire, and while no one was hurt, there was significant damage done to the building.
Chris Lloyd was working across the street in the garage at Carole's Autos when he saw what was happening.
“It was a little scary, we didn’t see the flames but there was a lot of smoke,” Lloyd said.
The diner originally opened in the early 1960s. In the 1990 film Goodfellas, Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta have a meeting in a booth at the diner. Since then, other productions have used the Maspeth Avenue restaurant as a shooting location.
The destruction of memorabilia from Goodfellas and other films that made the diner famous adds an extra layer of loss to the tragedy. A photo shoot with Harper's Bazaar magazine had to be cancelled because of the fire.
“Everything is destroyed,” said co-owner Michael Diamantis, who took ownership of the diner with his wife Denise in 1985. “I feel sick about it.”
“The damage was more extensive than we originally thought,” added son Nick Diamantis. “It’s really sad, but we’re going to do our best to return everything to that 50s or 60s feel.”
The family is currently waiting to hear back from the insurance company, but hope the diner can be back up and running soon.
“As long as everything works out with the insurance, I can do it in one month,” said Michael.