Is a diner with no booths still a diner? It's an existential question you might ask when walking into The Diner Boys for the first time, finding a takeout counter and no seats, but plenty of the staples you'd tackle in a diner booth: cheeseburgers, wings, gyros, Nutella-peanut butter milkshakes.
The Diner Boys may be the first of its kind on Long Island, a diner devoted solely to takeout and delivery. Though it seems ready-built for this moment, co-owner Peter Glykos — who founded The Diner Boys with longtime colleague Michael Campbell — conceived of the place years ago and leased the storefront in North Merrick in March, just before lockdown.
"It was my plan from the beginning. I thought with the rising prices on Long Island, it was always something I wanted to do," said Glykos, who co-owns the Lindenhurst Diner, which he and his family purchased in 2016. Glykos is familiar with the business: His grandfather co-owned the Pantry Diner in Rockville Centre for nearly 40 years, and his father and cousin own the Massapequa Diner. Glykos has worked in diners since he was a teenager.
At the Lindenhurst Diner, Glykos and chef Nick Hannides have been innovators inside the 56-year-old diner, putting unique spins on diner classics and launching a parallel vegan menu of breakfast tacos and eggs ‘venedict’ avocado, Impossible burgers and sriracha "chick’n" wraps. Both that vegan menu and Lindenhurst Diner staples underpin The Diner Boys' bill of fare, which Hannides also oversees, with Reuben spring rolls, cauliflower wings, breakfast quesadillas and bacon-cheeseburger tacos still populating a compressed menu.
For breakfast, the kitchen slings egg sandwiches, eggs Benedict, omelets and French toast bites, among other things; lunch and dinner bring at least 16 burgers — including a French-onion soup burger with caramelized onions and melted mozzarella — and over-the-top fries, such as hangover fries smothered in bacon and melted American cheese and topped by two over-easy eggs, for $10.75.
Most breakfast items fall between $8 and $13, while most burgers, wraps, panini and sandwiches are $12 to $15, specialty salads $12 to $18, and larger dinner plates — such as fried chicken and gravy, or roast beef au jus — between $18 and $21. Shakes are $8.25.
The Diner Boys opens at 11 a.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. on the weekends. It's at 2221 Jerusalem Ave. in North Merrick, 516-809-7130. thedinerboysny.com