By Peter Sloggatt
New owners are readying The Golden Dolphin diner to re-open.
Spiros Dimas, who owns several restaurants on Long Island, and Peter Tsadilas, a longtime Golden Dolphin customer, paid off back taxes, rent and other outstanding debt and plan to have the restaurant open within two weeks, Tsadilas said.
The popular Main Street diner was shuttered on July 26 for non-payment of state withholding and sales taxes. The restaurant was locked as lunch crowds were arriving that day, and bright orange signs declaring the restaurant “seized” went up in the windows. Those signs were replaced early this week with new ones announcing new ownership.
A spokesperson for the New York State Tax Department confirmed Tuesday that the previous owner, Limnaria Corporation, had “retired its tax debt” with the state. “The keys to the business have been returned by us to the corporation and if the business chooses to reopen it can,” tax department spokesman Cary Ziter said.
Reopen it will, and sooner rather than later, Tsadilas said.
Tsadilas, 47, a graphic designer and Laurel Hollow resident, was a longtime customer at Golden Dolphin.
“I’ve been eating there since I was 17,” Tsadilas said. “I’m really attached to it.”
Tsadilas was as shocked as anyone when the diner was shut down, and realizing that “without it there wouldn’t be a diner in Huntington Village,” he looked for a way to save it.
“When it went under I was looking for a way to save it. I reached out to my best friend who is my mentor,” Spiros Dimas, Tsadilas said. “He saved the deal. Without him, it was impossible to pull off.”
A “serial restaurateur,” Dimas owns the Old Westbury and Williston Townhouse diners, as well as the restaurant and banquet hall in the North Shore Towers in Floral Park.
“He saw my passion and my love for the place,” Tsadilas said. “But the real closer was when we met people in the neighborhood who were so anxious for it to reopen.”
Initially the pair planned to introduce a new look with renovations, but were pressed by customers who “kept asking us, ‘When are you going to open? When are you going to open?’,” Tsadilas said. Instead, the diner will get a refresh with new curtains and paint, and reopen as soon as possible.
“Right now it’s a little overwhelming. People have big expectations,” he said, adding with a nod to previous owners Peter and Teddy Kalligeros, “They were loved. We have some big shoes to fill.”
While the Kalligeros will not be involved, most of the previous staff will be back, Tsadilas said.