More changes for a Diner in Plaistow, NH

Betty-Ann’s Diner, August 13, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

I last made mention of the this diner in Plaistow, NH back in June at the end of the post I did on a short Memorial Day roadtrip. At that time Bob Higgins had sent a mesage about the former Diner 317 and how it was being reopened as Betty’s Diner. Well since then, the diner did reopen on June 25th as Betty- Ann’s Diner. The sightly different name was due to the objections of another restaurant, Betty’s Kitchen in North Hampton, NH. They apparently felt that there would be a conflict of interest if the diner in Plaistow (over 30 miles away) used the Betty’s Diner name.

Owned by the Pentoliros family since it was brand-new in the 1950’s, this is Mounatin Veiw Diner No. 317 and it was originally located on Route 28 in North Reading, Mass. It operated at that location as Pent’s Diner until it was moved to its current location circa 1959. It was operated here by the Pentoliros’s as Hope’s Diner into the early 1970’s but has had quite a few operators and names over the intervening years. I knew it as the Plaistownian Diner, and Route 125 Diner (1980’s) and the longest recently being as Eggie’s Diner, since the early 1990’s. Eggie’s moved to a new location in nearby Atkinson, NH over a year ago leaving the diner vacant. By the end of the summer (2010) it was being renovated and updated so it could reopen as Diner 317. It did reopen in November but unfortunately closed in March of this year.

Denise and I finally got over there for breakfast on Saturday, August 13th. It was not crowded but did have quite a few patrons. I thought the food was good and the service decent. By the end of the next week Bob Higgins had emailed me to say it looked like the diner had closed! It seems the new operator and the owners had some sort of disagreement and the owners decided to get back to operating the diner.

Betty-Ann’s Diner, August 13, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

The following is an article from the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune about the diner. The article incorrectly states the latest person to run the diner, Anthony Raia only operated it for a month. (It was more like a month and a half). It also says the Pentoliros family bought it in 1959. As stated above, they bought it brand-new in 1952 and moved it to Plaistow in 1959.

Plaistow Diner Changes Hands Again
By Cara Hogan

PLAISTOW — The diner at 127 Plaistow Road has changed hands yet again, this time going back to the original owners.

After just a month, BettyAnn’s diner is no longer run by Haverhill resident Anthony Raia. The Pentoliros family owns the property and has taken over the diner.

What happened is in question, with Raia and the Pentoliros family offering different versions. But Raia is out and BettyAnn’s reopened Thursday as Hope’s.

Perry Pentoliros said he and his brother Larry are operating the diner, rather than leasing it to someone else. Larry Pentoliros said their first two days of business went well.

“We did some business,” he said. “It was at full capacity.”

The diner has a long history; it has changed hands and names many times. The Pentoliros family bought the diner in 1959. They operated it first as Pents and later Hope’s for decades.

The family got out of the restaurant business in the early 1990s, leasing the 8-acre property to Eggies for 17 years. That restaurant moved to Atkinson in 2010.

Diner 317 opened early this year, with a focus on using local food. The diner closed in March, just months after it opened.

Raia leased the property in June and opened for business June 25, under the name BettyAnn’s. He painted the authentic 1950s diner pink and hoped to play up the nostalgic feel to make his diner a local landmark.

“We want to bring this back to a ’50s-type diner,” Raia said when it opened.

The dream didn’t last long. Now, Perry Pentoliros said, the family is tired of dealing with tenants.

But Hope’s opened prematurely. The Pentoliroses took over last week, but the business was still in Raia’s name. The town health officer closed them down Aug. 18.

“During a change of ownership, many times both owners work through the process,” Denise Horrocks said. “That wasn’t taking place, so they closed until the change of ownership could be official.”

The diner re-opened once the paperwork was completed.

“It opened early (Thursday),” Horrocks said, “They passed the compliance inspection (Wednesday).”

Larry Pentoliros said they worked hard to put in new kitchen equipment, get a new menu together and get the restaurant ready to open.

“We had to do warp speed to get the diner open,” he said.

Perry Pentoliros said he wanted to get the diner open and start making some money as soon as possible. Neither he nor his brother has worked in the diner business, but their father ran the diner for many years. Pentoliros said it’s important for them to keep the diner going.

“My brother Larry and I are going to run it to keep my mother’s legacy alive,” he said. “We’re changing it back to Hope’s diner, named for my mother.”

The name will change, but the color won’t. The brothers will keep the bright pink paint.

Well, let’s see how long it operates under the Hope’s Diner name. I am intrigued to see the owners will run it and wish them luck with high hopes for increased business. I know Bob Higgins will keep me posted!