Salem Diner being sold to University

Salem Diner, April 5, 2009 photo by Larry Cultrera

I was totally surprised to read that George and Zoe Elefteriadis, owner/operators of the Salem Diner of Salem . Mass. have been made an offer they could not refuse. Neighboring Salem State University has just announced they are buying the diner from the Elefteriadis’ for $600,000. Denise and I are fairly regular customers and try to get there at least once every 2 weeks or more. Anyway, here is an article from the Salem News about the pending sale……

I will attempt to find out more this Saturday when we head up for breakfast bright and early.

More Bel-Aire Diner info from Salem News

Well, It looks like the Bel-Aire Diner is definitely “For Sale” which is not a surprise. The Kallas family who have owned the diner since it was brand-new have actually dropped the price from the astronomical $199, 000.00 they had been asking for it to a more reasonable $50,000.00.

It still may not be worth that much due to the fact that whoever buys it would have to replace the formica ceiling because of water damage from a leaking roof. That alone will cost a pretty penny if it is done correctly. Gary Thomas said in a recent conversation maybe if they gave it to someone who would pay for the price of moving it, that might be worth it and I would tend to agree.

Bel-Aire Diner this past Saturday morning

The photos in this post were shot on Saturday morning and later that day, I got an email from Bob Higgins who told me by late morning the diner had “For Sale” signs posted on it which happened not too long after I was there.

A lot of other people grabbed onto this article earlier today and have posted it to their websites and message boards, etc. So I might as well pass it along if some of my readers have yet to see this. Anyway, here is an article from todays Salem News written by staff writer Matthew K. Roy that has more info as to what might or might not happen…….

Peabody’s Bel-Aire diner up for sale

PEABODY — Fear not, diner lovers, the Bel-Aire will not end up on the scrap heap.

But it could find its way to northern New Hampshire, owner John Kallas said yesterday. One of three interested buyers would relocate the diner to Pittsburg, or “Snowmobile country,” as Kallas called it.

The Bel-Aire was recently moved to the front of the Route 1 north property where it served customers for 55 years before closing in 2006. It is being replaced by a commercial strip mall that will include Red’s Kitchen and Tavern, a new incarnation of the famous Red’s Sandwich Shop in downtown Salem.

Kallas has it on the market for $50,000. That price purchases a kitchen “75 to 80 percent” intact, according to Kallas, and all of the Bel-Aire’s dishes and silverware.

“It has sentimental value, definitely,” Kallas said.

Kallas’ father, Peter, opened the Bel-Aire after serving in World War II, with help from brothers Bill and Jim. Kallas began working there at 6, standing on milk crates to wash dishes.

If a sale can’t be completed, Kallas said, he will not destroy the diner. He will “shrink wrap it” and store it at the back of his Route 1 property until a sale or use can be realized.

“We’re trying to find somebody to take it,” Kallas said. “It just needs a little tender love and care.”

A view of the cellar floor of the former Bel-Aire Diner this past Saturday,
Come in We’re OPEN” indeed!