After decades of competing with another diner across the street, the Long Beach Diner has gone Greek.
The old diner booths remain, but the 20-year-old space has been transformed into a taverna called Syrtaki, Greek for “dancing men.” Black-and-white photos of famous Greeks adorn the walls, including Telly Savalas and Anthony Quinn (who isn’t Greek, but who played that famous dancing Greek man, Zorba, in the 1964 film), and upbeat Greek music fills the room.
Owner Theodore Agelis, who moved from Greece 45 years ago and took over the Long Beach Diner in 2014, decided to make the switch, noting that there are many diners in Long Beach, but no Greek taverna. It’s hard to disagree when Laurel Diner is directly across Laurelton Boulevard.
The menu at the 98-seat restaurant, which opened over the weekend, features Hellenic dishes rarely seen on Long Island, including revithada Santorinis (Santorini-style oven-baked chickpeas with lemon and oregano, $8.50), loukaniko (homemade pork sausage scented with fennel and orange peel, $9.50), horiatiki (traditional lettuce-free Greek salad, $9.50), bakaliaro skorvalia (fried codfish in garlic sauce, $18), and lamb fricassee with dill and egg-lemon sauce ($26).
There is a full complement of Greek desserts, but diner habits die hard and you can also get ice cream sodas, shakes and egg creams.
Syrtaki is at 284 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-670-9100, longbeachdinerny.com.