Spirits lifted in Bay Shore by Peter Pan Diner’s vow to rebuild


Bay Shore breathed a collective sigh of relief as day broke on Tuesday when it became clear that no one was injured in the kitchen fire that caused extensive damage and forced the closure of Peter Pan Diner.

And within hours, the community was reassured once again when longtime owner Peter Lentzeres vowed to rebuild and reopen within months.

The Sunrise Highway diner is a landmark in Bay Shore, serving hungry friends and families for nearly seven decades. Lentzeres’s father Gus took over the business in 1959, and now Peter Lentzeres owns the diner with his brother Nick.

In the days since the devastating blaze that caused extensive damage inside and outside the building, customers young and old have come forth to share a flood of happy memories about their times at the restaurant and relief hearing that Peter Pan would indeed fly again.

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

“So glad no one was hurt but sorry for your loss. Looking forward to the reopening of our favorite diner,” Peter Pan customer Pat Sullivan said in a comment of a Greater Long Island post regarding the fire. “My husband Jack and I have been coming there for years with friends & family. We all love your diner.”

Sullivan was among thousands of readers who reacted to the news of the fire and reopening with condolences and relief.

“We were just there last night. Our kids LOVE the waffles and ice cream. It’s their favorite place to eat! Wonderful staff and owners. Best of luck with the rebuild! We can’t wait for the reopen❤️,” Facebook user Amanda Maria commented.

Christine Falco wrote that Peter Pan has been her go to diner for many memorable events.

“The wait staff and the cooks have always done amazing jobs,” she said. “My prayers for you as you rebuild, better and stronger than before!!”

For many, Peter Pan has been a lifeline over the decades during times of personal and community-wide crisis.

Nick Ryan noted that the diner helped get his family through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Peter Pan diner was a staple in our household during Covid,” he said. “As sad and frustrating as those times were, getting food from Peter Pan diner delivered, curling up on the couch with the family and watching movies will remain a core happy memory during a time that was so bleak. Cannot wait for your return.”

Michelle Lee Ciccarello added, “I remember they were actually open after [Superstorm] Sandy because they had power and we lost power at home so my family and I ate there. It’s nice to know they plan to rebuild.”

Even from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee, Peter Pan fans offered words of encouragement to the diner’s ownership and staff.

“Happy to hear you’re rebuilding! Drinking coffee now from my Peter Pan mug all the way in Memphis, TN. Sending all my love!” Krystal Cruise shared, along with a photo of that cup of Joe.

Dianna Howell-Herbold in a Facebook comment offered words of encouragement to ownership.

“I am so sorry this happened to you and all the wonderful people there. Thank God no one was hurt and I know you will be ok building it back,” she wrote. “You … have been such a part of my and my Bill’s (b4 he passed) lives. I will be praying that all goes quickly and smoothly for your rebuild. Hugs and prayers till I see you all again.”

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