In January 1978, we were living on Long Island — and feeling isolated. The previous August, we had moved from Queens to Old Bethpage with our children, Michael, 3, and Kim, 1. On Jan. 9, Long Island was battered by an epic ice storm, and we would have no heat or electricity for five days. Hundreds of ice-coated trees would fall under the weight of the ice.

We ate and slept in front of the fireplace. The evening after the storm, we piled into our yellow Fiat and drove. In the distance we saw the Plainview Diner, open and brightly lit. Entering, we found a long line of people. One by one, they were handing their perishables to Peter, the diner’s owner. He labeled and placed their food in his cavernous refrigerator. Someone pulled over a highchair and a server offered to warm Kim’s bottle. We were no longer alone. And we never forgot.

Celebrations, meetings and post-movie bites all took place at the Plainview Diner. You couldn’t walk in without someone calling your name. It was our own “Cheers!”

Peter had bought the diner in 1972 and, later, his cousin John came from Greece to work there — first as a dishwasher, then busser, server and, finally in 1992, as owner.

For 30 years, John and his wife, Anna, ran their eatery as a place where the food was reliably fresh and delicious, and the customers always came first.

Three generations of our family thought of the Plainview Diner as a second home. Michael and Kim grew up asking for the challah French toast almost as soon as they could talk. We all preferred it double-dipped, maple syrup oozing into its crevices. They always wanted to play the jukebox at the table. Eventually they grew up and married.

When Michael and his wife, Devra, came to visit, our grandchildren Zach and Elijah loved going to the diner. No omelets or French toast for them. They devoured cheeseburgers, French fries, hot chocolate and, maybe, an M&M cookie.

Whenever Kim, her husband, Dave, and their family flew in from their home in Chicago, our grandchildren ran into our arms, asking “Can we go to the Plainview Diner?” It didn’t matter if it was day or night, the request was the same. As Madelyn feasted on French toast, Jake savored cheese blintzes or eggs over easy. He loved to dip his toast into the yellow yolk, one corner at a time.

The long-standing waitstaff felt like family. In the early days, George, a kind server, always knew what we wanted, promising the kids a cookie and a maraschino cherry if they finished. And when my husband, Arnie, came down with meningitis, George packed up all our favorites and sent them with us to the hospital.

Kathy filled many roles in the diner, chiefly as server. She knew exactly how I liked my iced coffee — plain milk, light ice. It irritated her when another server brought me half-and-half and a full glass of ice.

And then there was Sylvia, a Long Island legend. She began working at the diner in 1973, retiring after 43 years at the age of 86. Sylvia knew her customers and had the unique ability to remember their dietary needs. With reminders like “Sorry — no hamburger and fries for you. The fish is fresh,” she took care of them.

On Sept. 24, Kathy brought out our last order of challah French toast, double-dipped, maple syrup oozing into the crevices. The doors would close for good the next night.

People came from everywhere to say their goodbyes. And there were hugs and tears as we mourned the loss of the place we called home for almost a half century.

Charlotte Prywes,

Dix Hills

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