After fire, Peter Pan Diner owner says ‘we will rebuild’ in Bay Shore

Peter Pan Diner owner vows to rebuild after a kitchen fire caused extensive damage to the Bay Shore buildings. (Michael White)

Bay Shore’s Peter Pan Diner isn’t going anywhere.

“I’m not even close to retiring,” said owner Peter Lentzeres of West Islip, who works at the diner every day. “I just enjoy this business too much.”

So he said while standing amid scattered puddles and piles of broken glass and the smell of black smoke still hanging in the air Tuesday morning inside the diner off Sunrise Highway, which has operated in Bay Shore since 1955.

Lentzeres’s father, Gus, took over the business in 1959 and it’s remained in the family ever since.

And it will continue to be, even after an overnight kitchen fire that broke out around 1:30 a.m. caused extensive damage to the interior and exterior of the building.

Lentzeres was sleeping when the fire started, its exact cause still unknown. Around that same time, a Peter Pan server was driving by and saw smoke, then called a manager who called the Lentzeres family.

“When I got here it was pretty much under control,” Peter Lentzeres said. “The firefighters did a wonderful job.”

To give you an idea of what an institution Peter Pan is in the neighborhood, Lentzeres said he knew about half the Bay Shore volunteer firefighters who had arrived to extinguish the blaze.

“Hey Pete! Hey Ron! Hey Jeff, thanks for coming!” he said of the early morning scene, with a smile. “Hey John, how’s your mother? Stuff like that.”

Lentzeres predicted it would be “a few months to go through the whole process” and then reopen.

Peter Lentzeres owns the diner with his brother Nick.

“We will rebuild,” Peter Lentzeres assured.

Top: Peter Pan Diner owner vows to rebuild after an overnight kitchen fire caused extensive damage to the Bay Shore building Tuesday. (Credit: Michael White/Greater Long Island)

Assessing the damage: Employees chip in to help clean up the mess at Peter Pan Diner in Bay Shore Tuesday morning. (Credit: Michael White/GLI)

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