Counter Culture: Bensonhurst is known for its abundance of cozy, family-owned diners, and each one has a story to tell. In this new feature, we will visit a different eatery each week to find out what they’re cooking, how they got here, and what sets them apart from the rest.
New Dyker Restaurant
New Dyker Restaurant serves fresh pancakes, made from scratch, every day of the week.
It’s a classic small diner, with booths lining one wall, and bar stools at a counter on the other. The air smells like frying bacon, and you can hear the sounds of forks clinking on plates and potatoes being chopped. Low murmurs of Greek and Spanish come from the kitchen. The owner of the diner, Gus Sarabalis, greets customers as they come in.
Gus started washing dishes at a diner when he was 14 years old. Now he owns New Dyker Restaurant on 86th Street, and he has for the past 19 years.
“When I came from Greece, we knew no language — we knew nothing. What else were we gonna do? We went and washed dishes. We started from the bottom up,” he said.
The diner business is all Gus has ever known, and his favorite thing about it is the people who come in. Most of his customers are regulars, and he lights up when he sees a familiar face walk through the door.
The diner offers a few Greek dishes, like spanakopita — spinach pie — but Gus says breakfast is the real star. Try the french toast, it will melt in your mouth, or an omelette however you like it. Those are his personal favorites.
Gus loves breakfast so much he could eat it for every meal, but everything is good, he says. “I wouldn’t serve anyone anything I wouldn’t eat.”
New Dyker Restaurant is located at 8505 18th Avenue and is open from 6a.m.- 8 p.m. 7 days a week. For more Counter Culture diner profiles, click here.