The saga of the old Empire Diner’s slow metamorphosis into the new, Coffee Shop-owned Empire Diner continues: According to the Daily News, its longtime owners are stuck in a legal battle with its landlord over who owns the restaurant’s name.
The landlord, Charles Levinson, says he’s planning to open version 2.0 under the same name, while the original owners, Mitchell Woo and Renate Gonzalez, have filed a trademark suit in Manhattan Federal Court to prevent him from doing so.
Meanwhile, the new leaseholder, Charles Milite, says that, regardless of its name, the new restaurant will open “in the next six weeks or so.” When it does, it may not have the original’s iconic eight-foot-tall replica of the Empire State Building, which has mysteriously disappeared.
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