Skip’s Restaurant of Chelmsford, Mass. to close after 60+ years

Skip’s Restaurant of Chelmsford, Massachusetts will close this summer. From what I can piece together, it was originally opened as Skip’s Diner possibly in 1930 and was bought by the Burliss and Gefteas families either in 1946 or 1947 (the postcard says 1947 while another report says 1946) and was originally housed in a built on-site diner type structure that eventually was re-built into the large brick-encased building housing the restaurant, function rooms and Embers Lounge. Skip’s since has become a local landmark featuring a fancy neon sign and noted for serving breakfast, lunch and dinners to quite a few generations of customers over the years.

Fred Gefteas, Jr. was quoted as saying if you told his late dad that you were paying between $7,000.00 and $9,000.00 a month for electricity, he would have said “close the place”! The families are selling out to a developer who has plans for a strip mall which will include a restaurant, coffee house and bank.

I personally have patronized this restaurant a couple of times over the years ( I’ll probably get there again before they close, hint: this Saturday possibly) and have found it pleasant, a real local hangout with it’s share of regular customers. Ironically, I used to work with Steve Gefteas, a cousin of Skip’s owners whose family runs the New Turnpike Cafe located on Route 138 in Canton, Mass. Steve told me that when his family bought the Turnpike Cafe in the early 50’s, there was a small diner attached to the building. Reportedly not in great shape, they had the diner torn down when they rebuilt the rest of the structure.

5 thoughts on “Skip’s Restaurant of Chelmsford, Mass. to close after 60+ years

  1. Thanks for the update! I always enjoyed stopping at Skip’s not so much because of the food, but the ambiance. The food was fine, but I loved stepping back in time. Will have to stop by before it closes!

  2. They will be bulldozing Skips next week, but at least the neon signs will be saved. “The Embers” will be displayed in the Johnson & Wales Culinary Museum in Providence, and the rest will be restored and go into my neon sign collection where, hopefully, I can exhibit them in a future show.

  3. Dave, Thanks for the update! That collection you have must be overflowing your storage facility. I saw some interesting ones peeking out the window the other day when I went to the capitol Diner for breakfast. Thanks also for reading the weblog old friend.

  4. Dammit! Yet another childhood memory and life-long hangout gone. I even used to bring my little girl in there twenty years ago just to meet and mingle with the Chelmsford old-timers. Granted, it wasn’t quite the Wursthaus in Harvard Sq., but now that it’s gone I realize what a big part of my life it was.

    My Dad used to buy me ice cream there as a kid, in the late 60’s the back parking lot was a hippie mecca, In the early 70’s it was my favorite place for lunch (I still want that lentil soup recipe Fred), in the late 80’s I ate there often with my little girl on our weekends together, and even throughout the 90’s my buddy Gary would drive out from Newburyport just for their fresh orange juice for breakfast.

    Hey Freddie-if you see this go over to Facebook where a few of us 60’s guys have reconnected…

  5. I live in CT and for at least 50 years, several times a year, our family would stop at Skip’s for a meal while traveling to and from Maine. It was a family tradition. Last week my Mom and I drove up to find Skip’s gone and a new building in its place. We couldn’t believe our eyes — we were so disappointed! If anyone knows of another place that is easy off and back onto the highway we would appreciate finding out.

    Thanks, Skip’s, we will miss you!

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