Top: A milkshake made from local ice cream at the re-designed Phoenicia Diner, which opens today. Above: A slideshow of photos of the re-opened diner, starting with owner Michael Cioffi in front of the facade. Photos by Julia Reischel.
The Phoenicia Diner has dominated a prime piece of real estate on Rte. 28 for decades -- anyone who has been coming up to the Catskills through Kingston has either stopped there or can instantly picture its pair of giant, yellow roadside "diner" signs. The retro interior played host to Robin Williams in 2005, who shot a critical scene of the movie "The Night Listener" there, and was a neighborhood institution for locals.
Last year, longtime owner Chris Raptis sold the diner to Michael Cioffi (pictured left), a New Yorker who has owned a home in the Catskills for decades. For most of 2012, the diner has been closed as Cioffi has painstakingly renovated the building and planned a grand relaunch. Down came the giant yellow signs, and up has gone a new logo featuring a stylized station wagon hauling a canoe.
The menu has gotten a similar reboot, with new recipes featuring local ingredients ranging from Feather Ridge Farm eggs and Ronnybrook Farm Dairy ice cream to Java Love Coffee Roasting Company coffee and Bread Alone Bakery bread. But the emphasis is still on diner standbys: meatloaf, milkshakes, chicken-and-waffles, and a bottomless cup of coffee.
Today, the new Phoenicia Diner opens for business, so you can inspect the locally-sourced menu, the fully-stocked soda fountain, and the gleaming chrome additions to the building's art deco design for yourself.
We were onhand for for a preview meal earlier this week (the Phoenicia Diner is a Watershed Post advertiser), and took these photos of the house-cured hash, salade Nicoise, and a chocolate milkshake.
Below: House-cured hash and salade Nicoise.
The Phoenicia Diner, 5575 Route 28, Phoenicia, NY. phoeniciadiner.com. 845-688-9957. Open Thursday through Monday, 7am-5pm. Breakfast all day, lunch 11am-5pm.