PLAISTOW — Diner 317 closed last week just four months after opening.
Located at 127 Plaistow Road, the diner was leased to three local partners: John Woods, Justin Behling and Chris Woods. They renovated the property and opened it last November, but the restaurant couldn't get off the ground.
"They weren't restaurant people and didn't know what they were doing," property owner Perry Pentoliros said yesterday. "They thought they were going to have people in there 24-7, but restaurants are a hard business."
The Pentoliros family own the diner and ran it for 60 years before leasing out the 8-acre property.
Pentoliros, a Haverhill resident, said his family first bought the diner in 1959 and called it Pents. Later, they changed it to Hope's Diner, before leasing the property to Eggies for 17 years before that restaurant moved to Atkinson. Then Diner 317 moved in with big plans.
The three partners grew up in Southern New Hampshire and attended Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston. John Woods worked as a chef in Colorado before moving back to open the restaurant with his childhood friends.
When the diner opened, Woods said he wanted to serve affordable, family-style food made with locally grown produce.
Pentoliros said he thought these were the right people to lease to — at first.
"They're the nicest guys in the world, but they're construction workers," he said. "One guy was a cook, but they knew nothing about the business."
Pentoliros said the three men did extensive renovations to the property and lost a lot of money.
"They put in $100,000 and lost all of it," he said. "They took whatever they had in there out. But it was just pennies. Just the booths are left inside."
Now, the Pentoliros family are looking to lease the property again.
"We put up the sign saying it's for rent and we get calls every day," Pentoliros said. "Now we've got a beautiful diner there up for rent and we're looking for the right people, husband and wife who know how to cook and run a diner. It's not a big dollar business; it's an everyday-type family business serving hams and eggs or American chop suey."
Hope Pentoliros, 90, helped run the diner with her husband before retiring. She said she is sure someone will rent the property soon.
"It's just like we bought it yesterday, brand new," she said. "It's a good location, best spot on the road."
None of the partners at Diner 317 could be reached for comment yesterday.
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