Diner Fans Hope JC’s “Red Robin” Gets New Life with New Owner
There's word that the iconic Red Robin Diner in downtown Johnson City is about to be sold.
The restaurant had been a fixture on Main Street in the village for more than six decades. It closed in January of last year.
The Red Robin Diner first was located in Binghamton on Conklin Avenue near the Washington Street bridge. It ceased operations in 1956. Three years later, the small structure was moved to its current spot at the corner of Main and Broad streets in Johnson City.
The diner's most recent operator - Jon Bowie - closed the business after struggling for months to keep things going during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The property was listed for sale last summer with an asking price of $269,000.
Johnson City residents in recent weeks have heard a prospective buyer is preparing to acquire the place. A person familiar with the matter said the interested party is interested in reopening the diner at the site and that the deal could close soon.
Richard Gutman of Boston - who is regarded as an expert on diners in America - was traveling through Broome County on Friday. He was in the region to attend a Cornell University class reunion.
Gutman stopped by the WNBF Radio studio shortly after he checked out the Red Robin in Johnson City.
Speaking on the Binghamton Now program, Gutman said "the best possible scenario" is for someone to buy the diner and keep it where it is. But, he said, the next best thing would be for a new owner to move the structure, refurbish it and open the diner at a new location.
Gutman said the Red Robin was built by Mountain View Diners of New Jersey. He said he was "very happy" to learn that the now-closed diner may be about to get a "new life."
An attorney representing the current owner of the property was unable to comment on a possible sale when he was reached on Friday.
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