PLAISTOW — The diner at 127 Plaistow Road has changed hands yet again, this time going back to the original owners.
After just a month, BettyAnn's diner is no longer run by Haverhill resident Anthony Raia. The Pentoliros family owns the property and has taken over the diner.
What happened is in question, with Raia and the Pentoliros family offering different versions. But Raia is out and BettyAnn's reopened Thursday as Hope's.
Perry Pentoliros said he and his brother Larry are operating the diner, rather than leasing it to someone else. Larry Pentoliros said their first two days of business went well.
"We did some business," he said. "It was at full capacity."
The diner has a long history; it has changed hands and names many times. The Pentoliros family bought the diner in 1959. They operated it first as Pents and later Hope's for decades.
The family got out of the restaurant business in the early 1990s, leasing the 8-acre property to Eggies for 17 years. That restaurant moved to Atkinson in 2010.
Diner 317 opened early this year, with a focus on using local food. The diner closed in March, just months after it opened.
Raia leased the property in June and opened for business June 25, under the name BettyAnn's. He painted the authentic 1950s diner pink and hoped to play up the nostalgic feel to make his diner a local landmark.
"We want to bring this back to a '50s-type diner," Raia said when it opened.
The dream didn't last long. Now, Perry Pentoliros said, the family is tired of dealing with tenants.
But Hope's opened prematurely. The Pentoliroses took over last week, but the business was still in Raia's name. The town health officer closed them down Aug. 18.
"During a change of ownership, many times both owners work through the process," Denise Horrocks said. "That wasn't taking place, so they closed until the change of ownership could be official."
The diner re-opened once the paperwork was completed.
"It opened early (Thursday)," Horrocks said, "They passed the compliance inspection (Wednesday)."
Larry Pentoliros said they worked hard to put in new kitchen equipment, get a new menu together and get the restaurant ready to open.
"We had to do warp speed to get the diner open," he said.
Perry Pentoliros said he wanted to get the diner open and start making some money as soon as possible. Neither he nor his brother has worked in the diner business, but their father ran the diner for many years. Pentoliros said it's important for them to keep the diner going.
"My brother Larry and I are going to run it to keep my mother's legacy alive," he said. "We're changing it back to Hope's diner, named for my mother."
The name will change, but the color won't. The brothers will keep the bright pink paint.
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