CHELSEA — The latest reopening of the Empire Diner has been delayed by a few months due to “the usual restaurant construction snafus,” its new chef said.
The iconic diner space on 10th Avenue was slated to open under new management in November, but the date has been pushed closer to March, a spokeswoman said.
Chef John DeLucie, who is working with the owners of Seventh Avenue's Cafeteria to revive the eatery, said they’ve been taking the time they need to revamp the kitchen and upgrade heat and air-conditioning systems.
“It’s an old building, and we made significant improvements to the infrastructure,” he wrote in an email.
His team is working with the studio that designed Cafeteria, but the diner’s interior will have a “decidedly different design,” he said.
“Empire Diner will be a casual but modern diner that offers great American fare,” he said. “We want to offer delicious, approachable food in a fun and unfussy environment.”
The Empire closed for a third time in late 2015 amid struggles paying its rent.
DeLucie “is known for establishing projects in buildings with historical significance,” Eater NY noted.
A sense of nostalgia drew him the chef to the diner space, he said.
“You can see throughout my culinary career that I love to find iconic, historic spaces and bring them back to their glory days,” he said. “I hope to do the same with the revival of the Empire Diner.”