The Aramingo Diner Is Closing [UPDATED]

Aramingo-Diner-Closing

UPDATE 3/31: The Aramingo Diner has closed.

ORIGINAL:


From the Department of Say It Ain't So comes news that the Aramingo Diner is closing. One employee told me early on Tuesday, "We may be closing." And now a manager confirms that the end is near for the storied Port Richmond diner, which originally opened its doors in 1957.

"Not enough people understand good food," says manager Kathleen (she declined to provide her last name) of the impending Aramingo Diner closing. "They want Applebee's. They want Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Kathleen, who has worked at the diner for 37 years, says that an exact date has not been set, but that the diner will not be closing this Friday, March 21st, as was rumored on Fishtown.us. "Before I worked here, I was coming here as a kid," she remembers. "But like they say, all good things must come to an end."

I asked Kathleen if the diner might reopen under new ownership. "No," she replied. "That's not going to happen. We live in a depressed area. People around here just want the cheapest food, and they don't care if it is any good."

In 1957, William and Catherine Moraitis opened the Aramingo Diner. They sold the diner to their son-in-law, George Grigos, in 1981. The diner is best known for its cheesecake.

In 2006, a man was shot to death inside, and later that year, the Aramingo Diner closed temporarily after a fire. One year later, City Council recognized the diner with a proclamation honoring its 50th anniversary.

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  • Jack Cotter

    How is diner food not the cheapest food???

    • 14thandBroad

      I’ve never seen a diner with a Dollar Menu. Pink slime and 50/50 liga-bone-ilage meat nuggets is the cheapest food.

  • Tina Costick-Brooks

    The food has gone downhill and so has the clientele. It has nothing to do with surrounding food businesses. The diner has not been what it once was.

  • holly

    Sad to see it go my.mom workded there for years even when she was pregnant.with me. She would be sad to.hear its closeing if she.was still alive Jackie heisse! Aka Mom

  • jack

    Prices have gone way up and at one time they were charging extra on weekends

  • origamiowler

    They started going down hill when the cheesestakes shrunk to about 4 inches and the french onion soup bowl also shrank to about 3 inches around. They upped the price and lower the quanity. Also, a few good diners have opened not too far away where you can’t even get a seat, so it’s not that people don’t want good food.

  • Neil

    The food is really bad now. I don’t mind paying for quality food, but it has gone downhill.

  • Just making sense

    Aramingo ave is just doomed. When you see a rainbow shop, cash for gold and an insurance company called fiesta you know it’s just game over. Drop another MOVE bomb and start over!

    • AreaMan

      Yea, I remember the glory days of Aramingo Ave, when we had a Kiddie City instead of the Rite Aid. Or when the Pathmark was where the Forman Mills now. And where Pathmark is, was an Acme! And let’s forget Consumers where you order from a catalog in a store! Or remember when the Modells was on the other side of the mall. And that weird steak place where Eagle 106 would broadcast from. Yep, those were days of Aramingo ave. So different now!

    • JudeGeorge

      Aramingo Avenue is doomed because it skirts Kensington and the poor Hispanic area. Aramingo Avenue is like the old Berlin Wall. Everything “on the other side of Aramingo Avenue” (meaning towards the EL) is downtrodden, drug ridden, heavily “multicultural,” whereas Port Richmond is mainly Irish, Polish and German with a few nice Black families.

    • GlassJawn

      Aramingo ave is doomed because its a poorly designed suburban strip mall in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood. Why are nearby Fishtown and even many parts of Kensington seeing huge investment and quality people moving in while Port Richmond remains stagnant? It is because they need to reinvest in there retail streets like Allegany and Richmond St.

  • Justsaying

    The only two good things left are the cheese cakes and coffee. They should open a Cheese Cake, Coffee house in Old City/Fishtown area.

    • Margi Megill

      The last time I bought a whole cheesecake, it was terrible. Once we cut it, the thing ran even though it was refrigerated. I hope the trashcan liked it because that was where it ended up.

  • Jodi Brabazon

    The food definitely went downhill, the service sucks and it’s not that the neighborhood is deteriorating, the diner just lost what it used to be, they are building up around there, sad to see it go but if you take no pride in your restaurant, don’t care about charging outrageous prices for mediocre food, this is exactly what happens, people travel a little further for better food.

  • Samantha Neugebauer

    Does the diner have wifi? I feel if local diners supplied free wifi, they could take a lot of business from overcrowded coffee shops. Students could write papers there and there could be a minimum you needed to order so it was profitable, especially at night when libraries are closed and other 24-hour locations. There are usually a lot of empty booths in the middle of the night.

    • Amanda

      They have wifi now.

  • ch

    greasy horrendously unflavored food…..its a shame that diners fall by the wayside anymore. All of the food tasted like week old grease. terrible.

  • Melanie Anne Slaughter

    I used to got at least 1 once a week until my son found rat poisoning under a booth that was the last I stepped foot in that diner just over a year ago

  • Scott Dphotos

    Maybe they should have tried advertising. I’ve lived in Philly 25 years and never heard of it.

  • carol mitchell

    OMG I AM SO UNHAPPY ABOUT THAT IT IS THE DINER I WOULD VISIT WHEN WE RRO C E INTO OHILLY. HAD THE BEST VEAL PARM AND STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE IN THE WORLD. WOULD ORDER THINGS OFF LINE AND HAVE IT SENT HERE. BEST OF LUCK TO THE WAITRESS STAFF.

  • Tina Dambach

    It used to be great and then the food and service started going own. I love diners over the chains like Applebee’s but this one lost it’s touch somehow. I don’t know if they were trying to cut costs or what. There are other diners that still serve good food and give good service like Liberty Bell diner and Four Seasons. maybe one of them would open down here. There are no good diners in the lower Northeast.

  • Shawn Discotti

    I used to go to this diner when I was a little kid, I grew up in Bridesburg and we always went to the aramingo diner 2-3 times a week. Well last month I got to meet with my brother and it was the first time I had ate there in 5 years or so. The food was bland and gressy. The waitress was an air head and the price for the food was awful. Its sad to see it go but its not what it used to be!

    • eldondre

      exactly. hispanics didnt ruin this place the people who run it did. the reviews mostly agree with your sentiment.

  • Neighbor

    I don’t like how “Port Richmond” is called a depressed neighborhood. We want good food not horrible food. You “had” the best cheesecake but now its wet and runny..Your staff well they aren’t so great at all..Its not about people its what you are serving them. Maybe you should inquire Restaurant Impossible to help you all succeed/

    • Sad but true

      Port Richmond is a depressed area. White Kensington. If you are on Facebook take note of the area disscussions and see how the residence react . They won’t control there kids and when called out proceed to threaten one another. Animals. This area is doomed and all the pretting up the parks ain’t gonna change the trash.

      • Educated

        Wonder where you are from? I mean you actually typed the word “ain’t”. It’s people like you who give neighborhoods a bad reputation.

        • it is what it is

          ain’t
          Pronunciation: ˈānt
          Etymology: contraction of are not
          Date: 1749
          1 : am not : are not : is not 2 : have not : has not 3 : do not : does not : did not —used in some varieties of Black English

          douche bag
          Function: noun
          Date: circa 1963
          slang : an unattractive or offensive person

      • JudeGeorge

        Port Richmond is not a depressed area. Kenisngton is. The population in Port Richmond is lower middle class generally. They are typical Philadelphians with the Philly accent. Not much crime. They sweep the streets, some beautiful houses, and restaurants. Philly’s best kept secret. One of the few safest neighborhoods remaining in Philly. The area is far from doomed but in fact it is on the verge of a tremendous rebirth. Get out of your gayborhood ghetto.

      • Laura

        Agreed

    • JudeGeorge

      I agree–people who say that Port Richmond is a depressed area—and NOT many say it–have never even walked the streets of Port Richmond. North Philly is a depressed area, ditto for Southwest Philly and parts of West Philly. I think that this “Justsaying” person is referring to Kensington, since so many people confuse neighborhood boundaries.

      • Lisa Rosado Morales

        I think all Philadelphia neighborhoods are depressed you guys all suck..js.. :(

    • Gail

      I went in one time to get breakfast and it was 15.00 for just me

  • Leah Marino

    The food at Aramingo is inedible. I would rather eat Applebee’s and KFC any day.

    • JudeGeorge

      Applebee’s is pedestrian, and they sweeten all their meats and veggies. Try The Hinge.

  • Nelson Esteves

    I am hearing a lot of complaining, truth be told the diner was a nice place, it had a good environment. My fiancé and I loved playing the games on the booths. Food was decent not as horrible as these folks from the discussion are putting it.Best of luck to everyone.

  • Donna Flade

    I have a lot of good memories of eating there with my family. But that was some years back. The food and prices are def to blame in part and I too noticed the rat trap/bait stations under the booths not too long ago. Also notices some other device under the booths. Not sure what they were but I was thinking rodent control. Most of the staff we knew and loved are already gone. I was happy to see Moreen working at the mug shot diner though. Anyway good luck to all staff effected by the closing! <3

  • Margi Megill

    “I asked Kathleen if the diner might reopen under new ownership. “No,” she replied. “That’s not going to happen. We live in a depressed area. People around here just want the cheapest food, and they don’t care if it is any good.”

    I really have to take exception to this Kathleen! How dare you! Cheapest food? As the food prices went up, you know as well as I that the quality of items purchased was getting lower. People cared how the food tasted and it went down and down and down.

    You know as well as many others the problem was management. Oh wait, don’t get upset because this includes you! The Aramingo was the first place to go for many people from ALL OVER! Food was great and the prices were right — notice WAS!

    • Justsaying

      Margi, just don’t blame the upper management which you say includes Kathleen among others You need to also blame your favorite waitresses that served you and tipped for serving you the bad food. The cooks and the waitresses know first hand if the food quality has changed.

      • Margi Megill

        I never had that problem because my waitress always let me know when I was ordering something that wasn’t up to par.

    • JudeGeorge

      Port Richmond is NOT a depressed area. Kensington is. Huge difference. Lots of good diner type restaurants in and around Port Richmond and they are doing very well. The Hinge, Cafe Villago Pizza, etc. All good.

      • Laura

        Port Richmond has changed as well. None of the neighborhoods are what they once were. The Aramingo has not had good food in a very long time. New ownership would be the best thing to happen to it.

  • JudeGeorge

    This is sad. Applebee’s is awful. Applebee’s puts sweetner in all their food–they alter it. Nothing like a good old fashioned classic American diner, especially when it comes to breakfast. Applebee’s doesn’t even serve breakfast. Plus, the Applebee customer base is….well…rather….ugh.

    • phillysportsfan

      not for nothing, but seasoning food, in other words “altering” it, is called cooking.

    • Gail

      We now can go to the mugshot Diner on York Street it is very good food.

  • Valerie clemens

    I Been going there for years & I have to say “it’s just not the same”. The food or the service. Its ashame they let it go down like that!!

  • Maria Casanova

    Tell me it isn’t so. I am really going to miss this place. Thank you all who worked there for being so great to your customers. Going to try and go this weekend before they close. Thank you, thank you.

  • dinerlover

    When I moved to the neighborhood last year, I ate there and the food was not that good and was overpriced. Also the wait staff were not welcoming , friendly or helpful .

  • Dan Roth

    She may actually have a point that a diner with good food and service could still struggle against low-priced chain competition in the current economy. However, we’ll never know because:
    * when you insult your customers they won’t give your words serious consideration
    * this had not been a diner with good food and service for many years

    • Dan Roth

      Just to clarify – this is not meant to be critical of all of the wait staff. Sometimes service was good, but often times it was not.

  • stef

    Its not what it once was.i used to work there,my first shift there was a riot.i did stay but at the same time the prices went up,food was good but not worth paying for.i enjoyed working for george and really enjoyed working with the older waitresses,not the young drugged out ones..i wish the waitresses luck on finding a new job when this landmark finally closes its doors..

  • Rob

    I have been to every diner I could find in Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs. I have been to them up the coast through NJ, NY, up to Boston. I lived in Shippensburg and visited many MD and central PA diners there. Many more in other locales across the country on various trips. I love diners and diner food.

    The Aramingo Diner was the worst diner I have ever been to. Bad coffee, and you only get one refill? ONE REFILL ON COFFEE?!? AT A DINER? I mean come on. This place had bad food. It is a shame that such a landmark is going to close for good though, I would love to see a new and improved Aramingo Diner. A good 24 hour diner will draw people in.

    • fran

      really your rank on worst diner on the east coast goes by how many refills you get on your coffee? I got an idea pay for the coffee you drink you cheap fuck its coffee if you cant afford the dollar it costs then dont drink it.

  • dan

    From working there its dirty and over priced and the food sucks Kathy can’t say it’s people not knowing good food their food sucks and so does the service

  • sad days

    Filthy place.. I moved out of that dump over ten years ago. All animals and thugs down there ! Its doesn’t matter if its latins, irish ppl , black ppl German’s etc. Its all nasty I wouldn’t by food anywhere down that end!

  • Anon

    Thank the LORD that this diner does not stay open. I’ve worked there for almost 4 years. Cook and Dishwasher. Let me tell you something. you all should be happy that people aren’t eating there anymore. I’m talking bare bloody dishwasher fingertips all over your salad and dressings. Bare hands on any and all pasta. Dropped steaks and sea-food (Just cause George wasn’t trying to pay for it out of his pocket). This place is disgusting. A good cook friend who had worked with me for a small amount of time had gotten fired because he missed a few days from being in the hospital from MRSA. He contracted the MRSA from cleaning the bloody bathrooms after a junky dope fiend finished shooting heroine and getting their contaminated blood all over the walls. There was never any real protective gear for those kinds of situations. (that kid was a REAL clean kid) George (the OWNER) has hired nobody but convicts to work in the kitchen for the past couple years. That place was bad. Every corner is being held up by band-aids (not literally). There was no money going into any type of repairs besides minor bathroom repair. A tragedy had to happen for something to be fixed (like the fire, or the murder- I worked on both days) The baker was a small woman who was from another country only here on a work visa (I always questioned it because I think she is an illegal immigrant) She would have sexual encounters with few of the employees (eye witness) in the bakery room. The worst part of it all would have to be the cigarette smoking. Cooks and dishwashers all smoked in the kitchen. over clean dishes, over cooked food waiting to be taken out. Managers, bus-boys, waiters and waitresses all smoked their cigarettes in the kitchen. NOTHING was done about that. I didn’t come on here to bash the Aramingo Diner because I have received checks to pay my bills that kept me above water in society. I’m just giving everyone a keen look into what was really going on with the Aramingo Diner. Bribes were made just so that the health department wouldn’t come. Most employees stole. There was a homeless man who slept in the basement where they kept all of their stock in the winter (the homeless man was/is a heroine addict who did nothing but mainline heroine and smoke and sleep in that basement whenever he see fit like it was his home. I can’t believe the Aramingo Diner has lasted this long.

  • PORTRICMONDSTRONG

    I love how people come on here just to talk negative about port richmond and the surrounding areas knowing you probably never have and never will step foot here. Its one of the only great neighborhoods left in Philadelphia. We take care of each other and try to make sure that it stays the way its been for years but its a never ending fight when you have low lifes and criminals moving in and corrupting the area. But thats all we can do is fight because just giving up will only result in another Kensington like situation which was also once a great neighborhood. The diner was a great place at one time you could even be sitting right next to people like Joe Frazier or other local celebrities while having a meal but poor managment is what brought it down. Not the community and not the surrounding businesses. And lastly not selling the property to someone who wants to reclaim this once great establishment is just rediculous. It will just be another eye sore on aramingo ave and the owners should really think twice about this decision knowing all the good that this shitty little stepped on neightborhood did for them.

    • moderate this!

      That’s bull and amyone who lives on the east side of Aramingo Ave that’s older knows that it’s over. White trash and wanna be tough guys. Can’t and won’t control there own. The end is near and the two women that would have you believe they are the saviour are selling you out behind closed doors. Fools! We know who runs the city and Portrichmond Is NEVER going to be Fishtown.

  • RE

    the whole city is a depresses area. So sad.Like most of us we are stuck here.

  • http://chrissmari.org ChrissMari

    “People don’t want good food”

    What’s that for to do with Aramingo Diner?

  • KG

    My ‘mingo be missin!

  • gb

    In 2005 I was beaten in the bathroom!! That place needs and needed to be shut down a long time ago!

  • Peggy Fritz

    Maureen is at mug shot diner that’s where I’ll be

  • LifeStudent1

    I resided in Port Richmond for roughly 30 years until moving in 1981. I dined at AD maybe, 5 times. The food was never exceptional but, passable.

    …..just past the AD yesterday. My passenger commented that it’s been here many years with no sign of closing!

    I remembered the murder and fire but, the rest….news to me!

  • GlassJawn

    Talk about sour grapes. Just immediately south of this diner, restaurants are charging a lot of money and doing well for their food. If she thinks the food at Aramingo Diner was good she has no clue.

  • Harry Wilkinson

    Great memories of the aramingo diner. Our crowd from Dolly’s would go to the aramingo for breakfast after the bars closed Friday and Saturday night. Aramingo ave was all cobblestone and It dead ended a couple of blocks passed the diner. Beyond that point there was nothing. I can still hear Al Hibler singing unchanged melody on one of the table top juke boxes. We started going to the aramingo in 1957 when it first opened. It was a tiny diner with a short counter an not to many booths. Best steak and eggs in the area.

  • Susie from Philly

    I love diners, and when I moved into the area, I tried to love the Aramingo. (All that Miami VIce neon!) But the food is so overpriced for the mediocre quality and while not all of the waitstaff was brusque and inattentive, too many were. Plus, I don’t think I ever once saw the woman at the cash register (owner?) smile. She reminded me of a sullen teenager.

    Why is it that I can pay less at the much-smaller Hinge and get a quality meal?

  • connied

    I think Kathleen (the manager who won’t give a last name) may be part of the overall problem: terrible service. The reason that the aramingo is going to close is NOT because of the neighborhood (poor excuse, insulting, standard excuse for poor managers) it’s because for the first time in decades, there is REAL competition within walking distance; and lots of it within walking distance.
    Or could it be that the people in that neighborhood are tired of doing business with people who look down their noses at them.

  • Gail

    Yes get the restaurant impossible to help you

  • I remember Olga’s too

    fran, ROB is right – the idea behind the neverending cups of coffee were part of all diners. The waitresses would walk around with the brown pots and give out refills or leave the pot on the table. Being cheap has nothing to do with the coffee. fran, you definitely must have missed the heyday of diners.

  • Lori Wands

    We already have AppleBees on Aramingo and Castor and we have KFC on
    Aramingo so we should have a Nifty Fiftys. Me, my daughter and so many other people would love to have Nifty Fiftys. But remember just something to think about.

  • johnnycool

    I met my first hooker there at the counter years ago.

  • fjw

    nothing last for ever