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Jul 27, 2017 12:39 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Diner Sold

Hampton Bays DIner.
Aug 2, 2017 11:00 AM

The building that housed the Hampton Bays Diner has been sold.

Thomas Charos, who owns the West Montauk Highway property where the diner operated for 30 years before abruptly closing two summers ago, said it was sold on June 26, though it still wasn’t clear as of earlier this week who would be moving in. The diner was sold to a limited liability company, or LLC, though Mr. Charos said he could not recall the name of the company.

“They are pretty vague about it—I don’t know what to tell you …” Mr. Charos said of the LLC. “I really can’t tell you anything. It’s very secretive with what they do.”

Paul Fetscher, the president of Great American Brokerage in Long Beach, who originally had the listing for the old diner building, this week directed all questions to Mr. Charos. Mr. Fetscher said he stopped working with Mr. Charos about six months ago, though he declined to explain why or why the property was still listed on his company’s website, restaurantexpert.com.

According to the site, the building is now listed as sold. The asking price was $1.25 million—which includes the building and everything left inside, but not the land on which it stands.

The diner closed in July 2015 after its longtime owners, Frank and Maria Vlahadamis of Hampton Bays, filed for bankruptcy. The couple was ordered by a judge to sell the diner after accumulating some $1.3 million in debt, according to court documents.

When the Vlahadamises were Mr. Charos’s tenants, they had a somewhat unusual agreement: as part of their lease, they paid the property taxes on the land on top of $10,000 in monthly rent.

Throughout the past two years several businesses, including CVS Pharmacy and the Moriches Bay Diner, looked into possibly purchasing the diner building. Those efforts, however, never resulted in a sale.

The 1.7-acre property on which the vacant building stands is currently zoned Hampton Bays Highway Business, which permits certain types of commercial businesses, such as restaurants, banks and retail shops. The land could also accommodate a church, library or some type of state-recognized nonprofit.

If a CVS Pharmacy moved in it would have needed to obtain a special exception permit from Southampton Town; the Moriches Bay Diner would have been a permitted use. Both options ultimately fell through, according to Mr. Charos.

This week, Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, who lives in Hampton Bays, said she is keeping her fingers crossed that the new owner is interesting in opening some sort of restaurant, ideally a diner.

“I’m glad it sold,” Ms. Lofstad said. “I certainly hope someone gets another nice restaurant in there. It would be nice to have that in there, especially with Friendly’s closing.”

The Hampton Bays Friendly’s, which was located just east of the diner, closed its doors this week after the franchise owner, Joe Vitrano, said his landlord, property owner Joseph Malvasio of Florida, raised the rent.

Ms. Lofstad noted that, like some in the community, she is still hearing rumors that CVS Pharmacy is still interested in old diner property. At the same time, she stressed that the chain has not filed any applications with the town that would allow it to move into the space.

She also stressed that, ideally, the new tenant would open some sort of restaurant.

“We don’t want a CVS as the gateway to Hampton Bays,” Ms. Lofstad said. “A family place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner would be really great.”

In a prior interview, Mr. Charos said that CVS officials were no longer interested in the building.

CVS officials could not be immediatley reached for comment.

Susan von Freddi, the president of Hampton Bays Beautification, echoed that sentiment, noting that she was happy to hear that the building was sold, though her group has been trying to figure out what kind of business would be moving into their hometown.

“We knew that it got sold, but we could not find out who bought it …” Ms. von Freddi said. “It’s like they are keeping a quiet lid on it.”

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I suspect that the anti-business voting block in HB are circulating the wagons to make sure no viable business will be able to function there. Instead, the taxpayers are going to be fighting a library expansion or look like a bunch of heartless snakes when a church or other not-for-profit wants to move in just because we want to make sure a viable business stays on the tax roll. Can't wait to see how this plays out.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 1:20 PM
typo - circling the wagons....
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 1:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh yes the dumbasses of Hampton Bays will be out in force. They would rather have a vacant building than a viable store in that location. Hampton Bays needs to become a village sooner than later. The beautification committee thanks putting in flowers is fixing Hampton Bays. It is really putting lipstick on a pig
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 27, 17 1:40 PM
If the town gives a special exemption permit for something like a CVS , they should be ashamed. That spot is THE GATEWAY to HB. A diner was ideal and we should fight hard to get a good diner there again. When people from HB drive all the way to Moriches (and lots do) because there is no good diner close, you know the need is there. It's also semi-historic to have a diner on that spot. Everyone I speak to says they want a diner there!!!
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jul 27, 17 3:28 PM
Its impossible to survive look at Princess Diner they are barely hanging on! Something like Carrabba's would fare way better. Sad commentary on local entrepreur its just not viable.
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe if they stayed open past 9 pm on a Sunday night they would do better, Its a diner they are supposed to be open 24 hours. What has happened to LI everyone is in bed by 830 on a Saturday night. Is this really better than what we had before at least there was life
By Ditch Bum (925), Water Mill on Jul 27, 17 8:48 PM
Totally agree!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jul 27, 17 9:49 PM
Prediction:vacant for at least 4 years. Now with Friendly's going out, a giant "Welcome to Hampton Bays" Sign should be erected. And the fact that they quoted the president of the Hampton Bays Beautification Committee shows how out of whack the system is. Sad. Typical in Southampton...Want Beautification, but hate the people who will provide it.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 27, 17 3:35 PM
Perfect a sign ... haaaa , How about a model A ford dealership, you people crack me up have you ever got out on NY and went down south It is responsible built up, alive and beautiful
By Undocumented Democrat (2062), southampton on Jul 27, 17 8:53 PM
I am pretty sure he was being sarcastic. The sign should read "Welcome to Hampton Bays - Move it Along - Nothing to see here".
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 5:53 AM
Sorry, I didn't add your addendum. Undocumented Democrat must have done poorly on the S.A.T's. The sign would now have to be at least 4' x 6' until the code department makes it come down.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 28, 17 8:24 AM
And it must follow the wooden sign rule just like the spanish everything plus a happy ending store doesn't next to the laundry mat
By They call me (2823), southampton on Jul 28, 17 9:10 PM
Baywoman and others - if you wanted a diner there, you should have purchased it and opened one. How many pancakes/waffles do you think you need to sell to pay the rent, insurance, wages taxes and still make a living. Would you really rather see a vacant store there? To demand that a private business open what you want is unrealistic and reasonable. You should be asking the Town to work with the business owners to come up with a viable business. I don't get it - it is no wonder Hampton Bays ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 4:23 PM
This is a fantastic comment. It's nice to see you understand the reality and frustrations we have with not only the town, but the opinionated and ignorant residence
By jasmine (9), sh on Jul 27, 17 5:04 PM
I don't care what the beautification lady thinks - I do care what our local town council folks who are running for re-election and live in HB think.. Are they going to succumb to the ant-business voting block or are they going to look at all the facts and make a decision to help revitalize Hampton Bays. That is the question we should all be asking over the next few months.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 4:29 PM
I hope Carrabba's bought it! That would be awesome! Affordable yummy food for the local plebs like me!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:52 PM
CVS is a disciple of Walmart...Please stop building them!
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:53 PM
Maybe it will be a diner?
By HB90 (164), southampton on Jul 27, 17 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Let's hope so...and commit to take our families there.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 7:44 PM
The diner did great until a certain greedy SOB turned it into a cesspool
By joe hampton (3457), The Hamptons on Jul 27, 17 8:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
If it was doing so great then why didn't someone scoop it up? How many years has it been vacant? I truly hope that is a diner and it can re-open quickly, but I suspect that is not the case, since I think the new owners would have been happy to announce that. The Town should have tried to offer tax incentives or other benefits instead of building a park or worrying about turning Main Street into Disney.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 10:21 PM
Its too bad you didn't get together with a group of people to purchase the building sooner .......
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Jul 28, 17 6:36 AM
Don't have friends that have that kind of money and don't think you can sell enough pancakes. Hopefully, I am wrong and it s a diner and they can make a go of it. The county government finds money to subsidize for profit companies that build affordable housing, but they didn't seem interested in helping to revitalize that diner. I don't get it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 6:46 AM
You want the county to subsidize the diner? Damn socialists!! Ha!
By harbor (413), East Hampton on Jul 28, 17 9:25 AM
ok poor choice of words...tax incentives have proven to help revitalize a community. The Town/Suffolk County may have considered working on tax incentives over the past few years for the commercial businesses instead of spending $4 million on Good Ground Park.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 9:51 AM
Maybe the Rechlers bought it and will own both ends of Harlem Bays!
By Mouthampton (438), Southampton on Jul 28, 17 9:55 AM
Harlem is beautiful if you were intending an insult joke you are about 20years too late.
Sign should say Bienvenidos A Los Hamptons like the awesome one that used to be on the fence at Bellows Pond just north of OMH.
They ruined the Dinner when they renovated it
By dave h (193), calverton on Jul 28, 17 6:38 PM
Always so hostile Dave. They even know how to spell "Diner" correctly in Harlem too.
By Mouthampton (438), Southampton on Jul 29, 17 12:37 PM
Let's see, 1.25 million with 100% financing at 4% is just under $6K/mth. The Vlahadamises were paying Mr Charos $10K/mth plus his property taxes. No wonder they went out of business.
By bird (827), Sag Harbor on Jul 28, 17 7:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Charo's never gave away a nickel thats one shrewd dude
By 27dan (2850), Shinnecock Hills on Jul 28, 17 9:06 PM
The "unusual setup" is a very typical triple net lease (NNN)
By smacw (240), New York on Jul 28, 17 9:40 PM
If it was a triple net lease, I agree that is very common especially for shopping centers.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 29, 17 12:34 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By 27dan (2850), Shinnecock Hills on Jul 29, 17 2:55 PM
IMO, you have a very good point. Most shopping center owners are large corporations. In this case it was a "local" property owner and "local" business owner. You would think that something could have been worked out with all parties including the Town. It seems to have happened in other areas, why not Hampton Bays? So sad for such a great community.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 29, 17 4:05 PM
It will be a medical center like everywhere else.
By LovinLife (61), East Quogue on Jul 29, 17 10:38 AM
The future of long island work work work tax tax tax all stress no time to relax than get sick then die.
By 27dan (2850), Shinnecock Hills on Jul 29, 17 2:58 PM
There may be a silver lining here...rumor has it that the operators of the diner in Center Moriches will be taking over the Friendly's site. They had previously tried to acquire the diner. If it's true, that will be a plus for Hampton Bays, especially if they have traditional diner hours.
By VOS (1238), WHB on Jul 31, 17 12:21 AM
Spiro is a great guy. A true operator who cares about his customers. The opposite of what was running the HB diner... I wish him all the luck in the world. I am just worried the friendlys location is to small he really should be running a full sized diner. but yes good news for HB if true.
By joe hampton (3457), The Hamptons on Jul 31, 17 1:34 AM
VOS, from your mouth to God's ears as they say. I just hope that all those calling for a diner actually go. It has been years since we had one and where are all the diner goers? Did they go somewhere else that now will be experiencing a downturn or do they just not go out since they can't afford to.? The core problems in HB need to be addressed by the Town or HB will never recover. .BTW, the Town is looking to change the zoning so no new buildings can be over 4,000 sf at that location so they ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 31, 17 7:25 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 31, 17 8:12 AM
Years of the Town Board listening to their anti-business voting block by shutting down the bars that previously filled the motels and diners.
Incompetent leadership not dealing with the problems. You have to laugh at Frank Zappone's comment in the article, but hey he spearheaded a $4 million Park. It is laughable if it wasn't so sad and dangerous.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 31, 17 8:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
My comment related to an article in a different paper that The Real World noted. Not sure why his/her comment was deleted.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 31, 17 10:52 AM
HB Proud, thanks for backing me up. The point of me posting the article (and if it duplicated, sorry) is that Hampton Bays has a very poor image and unfortunately the image is turning into reality with poor planning and SELECTIVE enforcement of laws. The Hamlet has a lot to offer but with the general anti-business sentiment the area is deteriorating rapidly. The cost and time to open a productive business in the area deters prospective entrepreneurs to come into the town and with the sanctuary ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 31, 17 1:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
I was at my local watering hole having an adult beverage or two and heard that some business people from Queens were going to offer massage services at this location .Is this a real scoop or what.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Jul 31, 17 4:34 PM
The Real World, you are spot on as well as others that have posted similar comments on other articles including the Friendly's closing. It is so obvious what the problems are and, while the solutions take strength in conviction and fortitude, which our town leadership lacks, it is not impossible to correct. The people of Hampton Bays need to stand up for themselves. I have no idea why they don't and why they don't VOTE.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 31, 17 8:29 PM
By 27dan (2850), Shinnecock Hills on Jul 31, 17 8:40 PM
HB Proud, not impossible to correct, but difficult. The laws in place punish the good people while the bad ones escape. Take the rental law for example, former codes and laws were enough to weed out group homes and overcrowding. Instead, the Town enacts legislation that bogged down the building department and was basically unenforceable. It was just a money grab and a way to make homeowners CO's invalid. To those naysayers, if it was so great, why are we still having the problem. Political correctness ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Aug 1, 17 7:17 AM
Just curious why do you ignore the solution of Incorporating ? Southampton does not care about you, yet It seems you are timid about the idea of taking control of what you are complaining about.
By 27dan (2850), Shinnecock Hills on Aug 1, 17 7:39 AM
I think Incorporation is an option, but something needs to be done immediately. This has gone on for too long.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 1, 17 9:35 PM
Ya got me Mouthampton. . Cant respond above because i am typing on my cell phone on a bus .. again. Without my glasses. . So ill let you choose: typing or spelling or spellchecker or bumpy bus or no glasses ...
But 1st comment at the very top, i really enjoyed the similar error that gives us :
circulating the wagons .. thats brilliant !!
By dave h (193), calverton on Aug 2, 17 11:09 PM
which I promptly corrected but "circulating" does create quite a visual.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 3, 17 11:54 AM
I would love to see a Pancake House there. Especially with Friendly's going out, there's no decent, reasonable, year-round breakfast place in town. And for those who say they'd have to sell a lot of pancakes to make it a viable business, I agree it's a concern, but have you ever seen an IHOP on a weekend? IHOP also has a good lunch and dinner menu. Pancake Cottage closed down because Petco, Panera Bread & Citibank (which is now vacant...) took over.
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Aug 3, 17 2:46 PM
Mrs. D - I am the one that said you had to sell a lot of pancakes. I can't speak to the IHOP's in other areas, but the Hampton Bays taxes are very high. I think the real estate taxes were reported in the tens of thousands of dollars - $50,000 is coming to mind....that is a lot of pancakes just to pay the taxes.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 3, 17 3:10 PM
Pancake Cottage wasn't forced out because anyone "took over," they're gone because they couldn't do enough business to pay the rent.

On the other hand, if HB was still a destination that young people flocked to for the beaches and the fun the summer surge in business would have been enough to keep them there.
By VOS (1238), WHB on Aug 3, 17 3:59 PM
And you know who you have to thank for that
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Aug 3, 17 4:04 PM
Yes our brilliant town officials who closed all the bars on Dune Road and then try to tell us they are attracting tourists with a Hat Shop and Life Saving Museum. LOL
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 6, 17 11:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
No, actually it was the retired city workers who live out here full time now. They came out here when they were young and had fun, but now they are older and have forgotten what is was like to be young.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Aug 7, 17 5:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why did they have the power to close down the bars? The Town officials listened to a handful of loud "grey hairs" - the same ones that think a Hat Shop and Life Saving Museum are going to build tourism. It is not the "grey hairs" fault, it is the Town officials for listening to them.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 7, 17 11:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
While I agree with you that if HB was a destination for young people, the summer surge would certainly improve the local economy, Pancake Cottage closed because their lease was not renewed while the landlord was in negotiations with Panera Bread & Petco: "Kimco Realty, which owns the shopping center that is home to the Pancake Cottage and Macy's at the entrance to Hampton Bays, declined to renew the restaurant's lease. According to Joshua Weinkranz, Kimco's Vice President for the Northeast region, ...more
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 1:25 PM
I agree, HB's taxes are absurdly high. But IHOPs are a gold mine. I've said for years if I ever win Lotto, I'm opening one. If you're ever by the Smith Haven Mall (especially on a weekend), just glance over & see the line of people waiting for a table.
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 1:29 PM
The mall brings shoppers, the shoppers eat..location location location. You need to have the customers to turn the tables to make a profit on that size facility. I hope you are right and that location can be a successful diner/IHOP/Pancake Cottage. Let's see what the owners are planning.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 10:35 PM
I think a indoor pool would look Great!!!That would be perfect!!!Hopefully it's a indoor pool.
By RandiDawson (2), on Aug 7, 17 12:23 AM
An indoor pool built by whom and paid for by whom?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 7, 17 9:52 PM
perfect , our own little cozumel yeah no thanks
By Erin 27 E (1275), hampton bays on Aug 7, 17 3:01 PM
I heard on the grapevine that the DINER may get landmark status.I understand a local psychiatrist is interested in using it as a treatment center.as long as you do not change the exterior you can use the interior for examination rooms with some couches...Hope to see some of you at the DINER,Just saying
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Aug 8, 17 9:50 AM
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Aug 8, 17 9:57 AM
Landmark? A landmark for a replica of a spaceship from Star Trek. Maybe it is Doctor Spock. Live long and prosper.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 8, 17 10:00 AM
Hampton Bays used to be a cool town. Best thing to replace the diner is a biker bar with bands booked nightly, an awesome bbq, and dance floor. Roll off the highway and smack in front of you, a row of wild pig bikes, loud and abrasive. Seriously, everyone will want to go there because there’s nothing around like it anywhere on the island. Save the flowers for the fake towns. Bring on the bikers. “Welcome to the New Hot Dog Beach”.
By sharkbait (32), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 17 12:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
A place where there is live music and dare I say dancing? No, no, no. The ant-fun voting block in Hampton Bays will be out there protesting - they want to live in Elmonte City, Oklahoma (the home of Foot Loose).
Maybe another Hat Shop or Life Saving Museum - that will make them happy. Where is Kevin Bacon when you need him..
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 17 8:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Imagine how upset the "grey hairs" would be if an erotic bookstore opened there! SCR (Sorry, Couldn't Resist)
By dalyce (1), Bonita Springs, FL on Aug 11, 17 8:31 AM
I have heard that here will be a Walgreens going onto the spot which is a shame. However with the town acquiring all of our Hampton Bays commercial property (AND LETTING THOSE SITES ROT AWAY) with preservation funds it is greatly increased the tax structure that is burdening our existing commercial businesses. Therefore making it impossible to have a nice family restaurant as it would be almost impossible monetarily. This is changing the landscape of our beautiful town and I for one am appalled ...more
By PRUDENTIAL1 (3), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 11, 17 11:07 AM
...and it all circles back to the Town officials making bad decisions and listing to ant-business voting blocks instead instead of making prudent decisions. It is a basic economic concept that communities cannot "stay" the way the are because they become "stagnant" I don't expect the "grey hairs" or any other community member to realize that, but I do expect our Town officials to rcognize that. AHT's administration ruined Hampton Bays and there are way too many of her folks calling the shots ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 17 12:12 PM
What is the Chamber of Commerce doing? There doesn't seem to be any reason (or draw) to come to Hampton Bays anymore. The North Fork is looking more and more attractive, even Main Street in Riverhead. I'll say this, Riverhead did something right.
By sharkbait (32), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 17 1:53 PM
Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce has left the building...literally...left the Chamber Building. Look at the Riverhead event this weekend - Well organized - well planned - well advertised. The One Day Grand Opening for GGP last year a/k/a "lets get ATH elected" day was a huge success, but I am not sure if the retailers saw more business or was everyone there just for "free stuff". The business owners get what they deserve by not having a strong chamber.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 11, 17 2:34 PM