Mitchell’s, the Valley Stream landmark, has a snazzy new look . The façade, pictured above, has an urbane sophistication made all the more urbanely sophisticated by its contrast with Rockaway Avenue’s small-town charm. Inside, the old décor has given way to stunning mosaic tile, warm woodwork and sleek pastel banquettes. “We didn’t think that whole neon-and-stainless thing worked anymore,” said Dimitrios Sourgoutsis, who owns Mitchell’s with his father, Chris. “Now this looks like a place you can take a date.”
Mitchell’s extensive menu remains largely unchanged since the Sourgoutsis family bought the restaurant four years ago. On 365 days a year you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner (served until 11 p.m. on weekdays, midnight on Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. on Sunday). In addition to a diner's usual round-up of sandwiches, burgers, omelets, steaks, chops, seafood and salads, Mitchell's makes its own ice cream and fresh-squeezed orangeade and lemonade.
Now, for a little Mitchell’s history, you’ll need to pay attention:
In 1922 James Mitchell started making ice cream at Teddy’s, his uncle’s ice-cream parlor-luncheonette in Jamaica, Queens. In 1938 the two men opened Mitchell’s, at 211 Rockaway Avenue (where Itgen’s is today). In 1945 Mitchell’s moved one block north, to 170 Rockaway, and in 1961, Mitchell’s moved across the street to its present location at 191. (Walt Itgen bought the first Mitchell’s location in 1967.)
In 1995, Mitchell sold his restaurant to John Drakopoulos and his wife Sheryl Morson. In 2004 Drakopoulos and Morson opened a second location, in Oceanside. In 2006 they sold the Valley Stream store to the Dimitrios family who had recently sold the Sherwood Diner in Lawrence.
Mitchell’s (Valley Stream) is at 191 Rockway Ave., Valley Stream, 516-825-9706.
Mitchell’s (Oceanside) is at 2756 Long Beach Road, Oceanside, 516-255-9544.
Newsday photo / Erica Marcus