“I don’t know where I’ll go to eat,” said Marsha Daniels of Saugerties as she picked up her last takeout meal at the Barclay Heights Diner on Sunday evening. “I’ll have to go up to Haines Falls.”
At 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, the Barclay Heights Diner officially closed for good after 50 years in business. For the past 17 years – with a two-year break – Linda and Nick Lopez have owned the diner, but they will be shutting down. The building’s owner wants to sell.
“He did offer us an option to buy the building,” Linda Lopez said, but she and her husband, after more than 20 years in the restaurant business, decided it was time to slow down and not carry a mortgage on the building. Their other restaurant, Selena’s on Route 23A in Haines Falls, will remain open. “We own that building outright,” Lopez said.
The restaurant at the corner of Route 9W and Village Drive has been more than just a place to eat, Daniels said. “We meet all our friends here; it’s not just food, it’s camaraderie; they treat you like family.”
“They have the best lemon chicken ever and the best burgers,” said customer Delia Mach. “There are a lot of memories here,” added her tablemate Mary Margaret Legg. “I hope someone [who buys it] can keep it as a diner.”This was the ‘go-to place’ after the bars closed.”
The Lopezes have also owned, and later co-owned the Village Diner in Saugerties. Eventually, they broke with their partner. “At one time we had three restaurants,” Lopez said.
In particular, Lopez said she hopes any new owners would have a concern for senior citizens. She displayed the seniors’ menu, with lower-priced specials for that group.
In a statement on the diner’s website, the Lopezes state: “So many great memories, fun friends that became family. We will miss everyone and always be so grateful to all our customers.”
Lopez said that the Barclay Heights Diner draws customers from as far away as Kingston, New Paltz and Highland. In fact, the restaurant’s passing merited a write-up in the Putnam Daily Voice, which serves several towns on the east side of the Hudson River and far south of Ulster.
The diner was a popular spot for locals to congregate long before the Lopezes owned it. Legg recalled having eaten there with her family when she was a child.