Last fall, brothers John and Spiro Gatanas, the owners of Tower Diner at 98-95 Queens Boulevard, decided to expand from Forest Hills to Rego Park, drawing on the success of a family business that has served the community since 1993. dinerbar opened at the site of the former Tung Shing House.
“After the previous restaurant closed, we felt the neighborhood needed something to bring people together,” said John.
He praised Morris Nathanson Design for a unique ambiance that includes subway bricks, spacious mahogany bar, stained-glass lamps and abstract copper light fixtures.
A streamlined Art Deco design of backlit red neon lights spans the interior and the warm brown brick façade.
“dinerbar’s casual elegance is inviting,” John added.
An added bonus is a patio on the side of the restaurant with a marquee reads “Dbar To Go.” Accessible from the street and the interior, this spot offers take-out, specialty coffees and a “build your own lunch” deal for $10.
The local community has already responded enthusiastically to the food, service, and ambiance.
“We have received requests for a happy hour, which is now offered daily between 4 and 7 p.m.,” said John. “We are offering a breakfast and brunch menu with more options, and there has also been a high demand for delivery, which we now offer.”
Born and raised in Astoria, the Gatanas brothers began working at Tower Diner, which their parents originally owned, learning the operation from the ground up. They still take pride in their parents’ long-lasting relationships with their clientele and value the importance of preserving “mom and pop” businesses.
“Family businesses not only offer character and a unique quality, but also embody a personalized experience from the moment you walk in the door,” John said. “They are part of what our country was built upon. The ability to dream, work hard, prosper and be part of a community.”
The kitchen at dinerbar is manned by 44-year-old executive chef Kurt Green.
“Our food is Continental American, which is a mixture of cuisines such as Italian, Greek, and Spanish, to cater to the multitude of clients locally,” Green said. “We can accommodate people’s dietary needs such as gluten-free diets and religious preferences.”
Some of the most popular menu items are truffle mac-and-cheese bites, balsamic-glazed halibut, and the Boulevard Burger. Brunch standouts are the s’mores waffle tower, Napoleon French toast, and the crab cake benedict. The menu also includes surprises such as tuna tartare, grilled octopus, and reuben spring rolls.
“We keep our food down-home cooking, but in an upscale setting,” said Green. “We hear ‘my mother used to create this, but she never created it this way.’”
Green is a native of Jamaica who moved to the United States when he was 11. He is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School, and has been pursuing his culinary passion for approximately 25 years.
“When I was a kid, my father would force my older brother to cook, but I wanted to do the cooking,” he said, “I strive to create art on a plate. I love it when people enjoy what I created and post photos online, but I can handle constructive criticism well.”
Rego Park resident Dmitriy Malayev, founder of the two meetup groups Walking, Networking, & Lunch/Dinner in NY and Single, Divorced or Widowed Members Looking To Connect, selected dinerBar for a recent dinner meetup on August 28. The Gatanas brothers are already making arrangements for Christmas functions.
“We will try our very best to accommodate your special occasions and events,” John said.