The fate of yet another historic New York diner is uncertain: The Empire Diner, on Tenth Avenue and West 22nd Street, is up for lease. As Eater discovered, the diner’s owners are giving up the 3,000-square-foot space by the end of the year. The Empire, which was built in 1946 and opened in its current form in 1976, has been featured in numerous movies, graced the cover of Tom Waits’s Asylum Years, and served as one of the city’s only officially landmarked 24-hour hang-outs. It’s also become somewhat enamored of its own celebrity: The Empire’s website bills it as “possibly the hippest diner on earth,” and lists all of the Page Six types who have warmed its booths. But despite that, and its unremarkable food and sometimes snotty service, it would be nice if New York could actually keep one of its last remaining Pullman car diners, instead of exiling it to Alabama or Wyoming.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2009