Oceanside lost a piece of itself when the neon lights went out at Mitchell’s Diner on July 12, 2015. Owners Sheryl Morson and John Drakopoulos sold the property to a developer (it’s now a Bank of America) but vowed that they would return. And now they have.
Mitchell’s Diner has reopened just a block north of the old location. No longer a free-standing stainless-and-neon palace, it occupies the first floor of a modest office building and accommodates 58 diners, as opposed to the old 168. But walk inside and it is unmistakably Mitchell’s.
The menu has barely changed, the ice cream, toppings and whipped cream are still made on the premises and, Drakopoulos said, about half the old crew came back. Having worked in diners since he landed in New York from Greece at 17, he found he simply could not quit the business.
The customers haven’t changed either. “They come in here crying,” Morson said. “‘Thank God you are back! What took you so long?’”
The first Mitchell's opened in Oceanside in 2004, taking over the Ocean Star Diner (formerly, the long-lived Rainbow Diner). It was an offshoot of Mitchell's in Valley Stream, which the couple had bought in 1996 and sold in 2006 (to the Dimitrios family, who run it to this day).
Mitchell’s, open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, to midnight Friday and Saturday, is at 2710 Long Beach Rd, Oceanside, 516-255-9544.