Feeling the love on Broadway

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Six months after a fire, neighbors welcome back an old-style diner


  • Tony Arsenis, left, and Angelo Arsenis at the Broadway Restaurant on the Upper West Side. Photo: Christopher Moore Flags welcomed the return of the Broadway Restaurant to Broadway. Photo credit: Christopher Moore

  • Flags marked the return of the Broadway Restaurant. Photo: Christopher Moore

The Broadway Restaurant is back.

The longtime diner on Broadway, between 101st and 102nd Streets, reemerged on June 27, with patrons repeatedly walking below an assortment of flags out front, opening the door and frequently using the same words: “Welcome back.”

The next day, the gratitude vibe was the same. A woman at the cash register handed over cash to pay her bill. And she said, “Wonderful, wonderful to have you back.”

That return surprised some neighbors, who wondered and worried about the fate of the old-style diner, which closed due to a fire on Jan. 1, 2018. The New Year’s nightmare meant a half-year of wrangling and struggle for owner Angelo Arsenis and his team. First, he faced more than two months of insurance work. Then came the challenge of dealing with Con Ed, which closed off the gas.

Arsenis says he has about eight employees. Some of the staffers who had worked there before the fire found other jobs. “Some have come back,” says Arsenis, who bought the place back in 1980. He said the exact cause of the fire had not been determined, but the damage was in the area around the kitchen ducts in the rear.

Arsenis is not the only family member on the scene. Customers sometimes think his first cousin and fellow restaurant presence, Tony Arsenis, is the owner. With the cash register between them, the two talked about the last six months and the struggle to get the restaurant back up and running.

Tony, who lives in Queens, said fresh food, decent prices and a friendly approach to service have been a key to success over the years. He said there’s incredible diversity in the customers he serves.

“We’ve been here so long and we know everybody,” Tony Arsenis said. “The most important thing is the reasonable prices. You can’t find these prices anywhere.”

He was feeling the love as customers came in, happy to find the spot largely unchanged. Old movie star photographs were back in their place on the walls, just like always.

“I love it here,” he said. “I love it.”

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