We’ve just gotten word that Old John’s Luncheonette will be reopening in 2021 – though it is expected to look and feel a bit different.
When Old John’s Luncheonette closed in 2020, the pain was felt throughout the neighborhood. But luckily, a former employee – Louis Skibar – has renegotiated the old diner’s lease terms, ensuring the legacy of a diner that is near and dear to his heart.
Skibar started working at Old John’s in 1984, at the age of 16, starting as a delivery boy and working his way up to short order cook during his six year tenure. This was before the restaurant was forced to close its original location (at 66th & Broadway) due to development on the block. Old John’s would eventually relocate to 148 West 67th Street a few years later, becoming a neighborhood mainstay for the next 30 years.
Skibar moved on and opened a number of restaurants. He founded Toloache Restaurant Group, which today has a portfolio including restaurants in Manhattan and Queens, including Toloache (two locations), Tacuba (two locations), Coppelia, El Fish Shack (two locations) and Cuba.
And now he’s working on rebuilding a neighborhood classic.
In addition to resurrecting Old John’s Luncheonette, he will be hiring many former staff members as well; one of the original 67th street crew members, Kathy Dellinger, will work on social media and photography for the new spot. And while the diner will get a bit of a facelift, the bones will be preserved and respected, and will still feature classic diner counter seating.
Chef Grayson Schmitz (Jean-Georges, Fiamma, BKLYN Larder, Olivier Cheng) will be overseeing the menu and kitchen, while Pastry Chef Tanya Ngangan (Fauchon, Maze by Gordon Ramsy, Bisous Ciao) will be handling the desserts. Old John’s will serve American Comfort Fare, including updated takes on many of its former dishes. It will operate daily, from 7AM – 12AM, and will also offer the neighborhood a full-service coffee bar, along with an assortment of to-go baked goods each morning. The diner will look to serve the neighborhood with a full service bar, featuring locally-sourced spirits.