Pop Goes the Diner

Experimental diner bails out of West Village for offer that couldn't be refused

Diner bails out of Uptown Dallas for offer that couldn't be refused

Pop Diner bar
Pop Diner has vacated the premises. Photo by Teresa Gubbins

Quirky West Village spot Pop Diner has lost its pop. It has pulled the plug. It has shut the doors. It's closed.

According to owner Nik Gjonaj, the concept has been sold to an unnamed "Atlanta-based holdings corporation" who will expand it at some point, possibly in another city.

"Dallas, Atlanta, Miami? Let's see where it goes," he says. "It's bittersweet, but sometimes an opportunity arises that is too good to refuse, and this was just the case."

Pop Diner opened exactly one two years ago, in February 2013, next-door to Max's Wine Dive, in the old Borders bookstore space. Its backstory was difficult to glean. Gjonaj, a resident of Detroit who had other restaurants in his hometown, had a big vision that included an '80s pop-culture theme, with oversized prints of '80s icons such as Molly Ringwald, Debbie Harry and Michael Jackson.

The menu included nachos, hot dogs, burgers and the signature "Naani," a wrap-style chicken sandwich popular in Detroit. A manager at a business nearby says that the restaurant didn't seem to have a consistent staff or regular customers. Previously open 24 hours, they'd recently changed their hours to the unprecedented 5 pm to 5 am.

"We definitely had our ups and downs," Gjonaj says. "But we look forward to continuing the Pop brand in new locations and seeing it brought back to life and taken to another level by a new-and-improved team who understands the vision and commitment required for a successful enterprise."

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