Bridgeport Flyer Diner of Bridgeport, CT demolished

Bridgeport Flyer Diner, photo courtesy of Randy Garbin/Roadside Magazine

The Bridgeport Flyer Diner, a Swingle colonial style diner that replaced a Sterling double-ended streamliner in the 1960’s was demolished this past week according to reports. The diner had been operating under various names for a few years but remained fairly intact will be replaced by a car wash, a gas station and a Dunkin Donuts. The other Bridgeport Flyer Diner in Milford, CT remains in operation so the name will be carried on. Below is a photo of the original diner from 1941.

The “old” Bridgeport Flyer diner in 1941
(courtesy Bridgeport Public Library Historical Collections/Mary Witkowski))

Here is the text from a Connecticut Post Online article from July 18, 2008…..

Landmark Bridgeport diner leveled

Car wash, convenience store coming

BRIDGEPORT — The building that once housed the Bridgeport Flyer Diner — for decades a fixture in the city’s West End — was demolished Friday to make way for a car wash, gas station/convenience store and doughnut shop. The long-neglected structure, near Fairfield Avenue’s intersection with State Street, has been vacant four years.It was the La Carreta Restaurant for the last two years that it was occupied, but from 1942 until about 2002, it was the home of the Bridgeport Flyer Diner. “My grandfather, Anthony Rountos, came from New York with his brother-in-law, and they went up Route 1 and saw that that’s where all the factories were, so that’s where they spotted the diner,” said Dennis Kokenos, who now owns the Bridgeport Flyer Diner in Milford.

“It looked like a train car,” he said of the original structure, which had been altered with different siding and other features over the years. “It’s a shame. I swear to God, tears were in my eyes yesterday when I pulled into the parking lot.” He worked there from 1983 until it closed in 2003 — a year after his mother, Coy Rountos Kokenos, died.

Dennis’ father, Perry Kokenos, married into the business, he said. He added that the opening in 1991 of the McDonald’s restaurant just down the street didn’t affect the diner’s business in the least. The diner was the site of a brazen stickup on Nov. 1, 1980, when three bandits shot and wounded the cook, Lincoln Tirado, and roughed up and robbed a few of the customers. One of the gunmen was armed with a double-barreled shotgun. Tirado was shot when he tried to throw a kitchen knife at one of the thieves.

The Milford Flyer diner — in the city’s Devon section — opened in 1974, and it remains a thriving business. “That was a family place — my mother was in the front all the time,” Kokenos said. “So when she died, we tried to run it with an outside manager, but it just didn’t work. It was a nice stretch that we had in Bridgeport. I really do miss it, but I had to make a decision.”

The new owner, Sohan Johnson, said that he purchased the parcel about a year ago. “It’s going to be a car wash, a gas station, a Dunkin’ Donuts outlet and a convenience store,” he said, adding that it should be open at some point next year. Johnson was at the site Friday morning to speak with Craig Capozziello of Industrial Wrecking, his giant Caterpillar power shovel at the ready to knock down the structure. Johnson wanted Capozziello to set aside some of the structural steel from the old building. Before Johnson arrived, Capozziello waited in his red pickup truck. “I wish he would come. I could have had the thing down by now,” he said. “We’ve been tearing down buildings for a hundred years.”