It looks like it’s really over for Joe Jr. Restaurant. The owner, Teddy Hondros, tells us that it was his customers, not him, that posted a petition to save the place. He didn’t have the heart to stop them, but he says signatures are beside the point. In fact, he says that despite his lease having been up June 30, his landlord has asked him to stay in recent days — but he has already made arrangements to shut down the gas and telephone lines and says he will definitely close after Saturday night. Hondros says he has been attempting to renew his lease for six months, but it seemed the landlord no longer wanted a diner in the space. He says the landlords are a father-and-son team: “With the father I can agree all the time, but the son has new ideas,” Hondros told us in a Greek accent. “Maybe they want to clean this place, with all the smoke and oil. Young people don’t want the flames, the cooking, all this stuff … ” Hondros, who is 65 and spent 34 years and up to fifteen hours every day working in the restaurant, says he’s ready to retire. He says he’s “upset” and “weak,” but he isn’t blaming anyone: “Business was good so many years — it’s a good neighborhood, with excellent people, and I thank the people and landlords that they leave me here so many years now.”
Update: Reporting from the scene, Eater hears that a dispute over repairs for fire damage had something to do with the landlord conflict.