The Real Deal Tristate

Lenny Dykstra is helping move this iconic diner to Long Island

The former New York Mets star is working with "Diner Man" Michael Perlman and real estate lawyer Ronald Hariri to save the Shalimar Diner
June 24, 2019 04:30PM

The shuttered Shalimar Diner in Rego Park

Despite reportedly losing an $80,000 set of dentures at a Jersey Mike’s in Linden, New Jersey, former Major League Baseball player Lenny Dykstra still has a soft spot for restaurants.

So much so that the former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies center fielder nicknamed “Nails” has teamed up with Michael Perlman, founder of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, and Manhattan-based real estate lawyer Ronald Hariri to try and move the Shalimar Diner from its former home in Rego Park to Riverhead, the Long Island Press reported.

Lenny Dykstra attends a screening party for Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” on March 3, 2008. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

The eatery, which opened in 1974, has made star turns in the CBS show “Blue Bloods” and Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” But rising rents and a slowing business led the Shalimar Diner to close late last year. A development group paid $6.55 million in cash in December to acquire the property it sits on and an adjoining lot at 63-68 Austin Street in Queens.

In April, Perlman began his campaign to find someone to buy the diner structure and move it before its demolition. Dykstra, whose net worth was once valued at $58 million before he spent six months in prison earlier this decade after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud and money laundering charges, and Hariri have now come forward to say they will help pay for a professional “diner rigger” to carry the Shalimar Diner out east.

While it’s not yet clear what expertise Dykstra has in the realm of moving restaurants, Hariri, a Forest Hills native who reportedly grew up going to the Shalimar Diner for egg creams, appears to have found an ideal partner in Perlman. The Commercial Observer nicknamed Perlman “Diner Man” a decade ago for his role finding new venues for the Moondance Diner in SoHo and the Cheyenne Diner in midtown Manhattan.

“These places are cultural cornerstones of the neighborhood, but they’ve become an endangered species,” Perlman told Long Island Press. “It’s really sad and disheartening now how much land costs around here. The structure is prefabricated and manufactured to be easy to move.”

A new address where the Shalimar Diner might settle in Riverhead is not yet known. Newsday reported last week that Riverhead officials are considering changes to the town’s environmental quality review rules to help spur redevelopment for vacant retail buildings with large parking lots along its Route 58 corridor.

Long Island Press noted that the establishment is expected to reopen with brewery functions as part of its operation. [Long Island Press] — Aidan Gardiner