The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
When the Nautilus Diner in Massapequa closed in late 2010, it left a lot of regulars feeling bereft. They were a mainstay with friendly staff, fabulous burgers and great grilled cheese at 2 in the morning, a reader wrote back then.
Now, after a more than three-year hiatus, the newly remodeled diner has relaunched under the same family ownership as before. The place stays open 24 hours on weekends (as well as holidays and three-day weekends) and, on Sunday to Thursday, until 2 a.m.
When I stopped by recently for an afternoon bite, I found a capacious interior with multiple dining rooms and a bar. A motif of undulating wavelike shapes and nautical-blue neon lights defined the space.
So, too, did friendly, obliging service.
In the breadbasket were house-baked lightly crusted little rolls brushed with a garlic and oil mixture. Quite good. The Cobb salad I ordered ($14.99) was enough to feed two to four. It was prettily plated and contained all the elements of a proper Cobb chicken strips, avocado, hard-boiled egg, Gorgonzola, bacon and tomato over romaine lettuce. The only nontraditional item and not such a terrible one was cucumber.
The encyclopedic menu here is typical of all diners: Belgian waffle ($6.49), Western omelet ($8.29), challah French toast ($6.49), BLT ($5.99), cheeseburger deluxe with fries, onion rings and lettuce and tomato ($10.59), moussaka ($14.99), broiled half chicken ($15.99) and broiled tilapia almandine ($18.99). Finish, perhaps, with a banana split ($6.99) or cheesecake ($4.99).
Nautilus Diner is at 5523 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, 516-590-7700.