Old Kimberly Diner is now Kimberly Restaurant
The Kimberly Diner, once a landmark Milford business on the Boston Post Road, was reborn in a sense when it reopened at 501 New Haven Avenue, under the name of the Kimberly Restaurant.
The eatery opened late last year at the site of the former Jeffrey’s Restaurant, and the mayor is scheduled to officially open it with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, Nov. 15, at 11 a.m.
It was 2013 when Rena Tsopanides hugged a customer at the old Kimberly Diner on the Boston Post Road and said, “Bye my love,” in typical Rena fashion as the Kimberly Diner prepared to close its doors after 43 years in business.
The diner closed because the property had been sold to the car dealership across the street, and then leveled to become a parking lot.
Tim Tsopanides, Rena’s son, said the family always intended to buy the property, and thought that eventually they would. But the former owner of the land died before such a transaction could take place.
After the Kimberly Diner closed, Tim planned to team up with two partners and turn his attention on another Milford landmark: Paul’s Hamburgers. Paul’s closed in 2008 and has been empty since. Tim said he and his partners planned to reopen it, keeping the Paul’s name and incorporating a wider menu.
“It didn’t work out,” Tim said.
So he and Rena worked over the past five years at the Blue Sky Diner in Stratford, which Rena’s sister owns, until Tim said fate brought him to Jeffreys on New Haven Avenue.
Constantly looking for a place that could become a new diner, he had driven to the corner of Gulf Street and New Haven Avenue to check out the old Olympic Donuts building, which had closed. But he wasn’t thrilled with the space, and he left.
“So I pulled out and started heading this way,” Tim said as he sat at a table in his new restaurant. “Then I look to my right and I see this place.”
Tim said his father owned a diner on this spot about 50 years ago. So, recalling those old days when he was a kid, he parked his car, walked inside and the owner of Jeffrey’s was there — he asked Tim what he could get him. Tim said he wasn’t interested in eating but was interested in buying the business.
And the owner said he would consider selling.
“It was like God sent me here,” Tim said.
Tim called his long time advisor, real estate agent Edmund Ramos, who headed right over and worked out a deal. Tim purchased the business and assumed the owner’s 10-year lease on the property, with an option to buy the property.
The Kimberly Restaurant is certainly different than the diner. There are tables rather than booths; two dining rooms, a fireplace, and an outdoor seating area that overlooks a picturesque marsh.
The old diner seated about 82 people, and the restaurant seats about 100. And here there is a full bar.
But there are similarities too: The food is largely the same — American diner fare with a little Mediterranean twist, Tim said.
And then there’s Rena: the quintessential waitress, still hugging and kissing the customers that have become more than regulars, more like family, over all these years, and bidding them adieu with a “bye bye love.”
Some of the old customers have come back after realising that the new Kimberly Restaurant is actually their old Kimberly Diner.
Tim is happy.
“Faith and persistence take you a long way,” he said.