WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — An ugly-duckling Washington Heights coffee shop has turned into a swan of a diner.
The once-tiny George's Coffee Shop, a longtime fixture on the corner of Broadway and West 164th Street, has been turning heads over the past month since opening up an expanded space and renaming itself the Washington Heights Diner.
The diner, which re-opened at 3915 Broadway in July, expanded into a space vacated by an old clothing store. Owner Theodora Kalavrezos said that the renovated space tripled the restaurant's size, increasing its seating from 18 up to 75.
The makeover also brought new items to the menu: where George's used to serve just breakfast sandwiches and hamburgers, the diner now offers up breakfast, pastas, and dinner specials 24 hours a day.
Kalavrezos, whose husband George opened the coffee shop over 30 years ago, said that response from diners has been positive thus far.
"Customers are very happy," said Kalavrezos.
Diners surveyed on Thursday backed up the sentiment.
"I think it's a nice improvement," said resident Marsha Samuels. "It's like a typical diner, but we don't have many out here."
"The difference is like having a bodega on the corner and then seeing a Shop-Rite," added her friend, Melody Singleton.
"It's that big of a difference."