#FightFor15 must be so proud.
From NY Post: Say goodbye to the late-night fries and gravy. One of the last classic Brooklyn diners is biting the dust — and soon they’ll all die off due to the state’s minimum-wage increase and other factors, restaurateurs and economic experts predicted Friday.
The owner of the four-decade-old, 24-hour greasy spoon, Del Rio Diner in Gravesend, said his place is closing down because he can’t afford to pay cooks $15 an hour, along with rising rents and expensive Health Department inspection fees.
“The minimum-wage law was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’d need to raise the burger to $9 from $6.45. I don’t want to do that to my customers. They’ve been good to me. These are middle-class people,” said owner Larry Georgeton, 66.
“This is going to kill me to leave. But I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Georgeton — who has served everyone from movie stars to sports heroes at the fabled neighborhood hangout on Kings Highway near West 12th Street.
The Del Rio’s closing was first reported Friday by the Web site BrooklynDaily.com.
“The outlook for this business model is bleak. If you’re a diner, going automated isn’t an option. Neither is raising prices on your working-class customers — a $20 sandwich isn’t going to work,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, which studies job growth. “It’s too bad because it’s these sorts of restaurants that make neighborhoods unique.”
Other old-school Brooklyn diners such as the Vegas in Dyker Heights, the Mirage in Midwood and the Floridian in Marine Park are also at risk, Saltsman said.
“I’m happy for McDonald’s workers. God bless them. I hope you get $30 an hour. But we can’t handle it,” Georgeton said.
Over the years, the Del Rio has served former Yankees star Joe Pepitone, actress Jessica Biel and late “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, Georgeton said. It will close its doors for good Monday at 7 a.m.
Georgette Barrile, 69, who worked as a Del Rio waitress in the ’80s added, “I never thought this place would close. It’s heartbreaking.”