Dining Out


Main Street Addition Is American Classic With A Twist

By Maya Brown

The Whiskey Down Diner, a family owned restaurant, opened its doors on downtown Farmingdale’s Main Street in early June. The concept of the restaurant is to take all the best qualities of the classic diner and add a new-school twist of modern.

The establishment is owned by the Kanaras family, including the father, Peter, and sister and brother, Alyson and John. Over the past couple of years, the family has been able to see their dream become a reality.

“It’s been great to finally see something come together that we’ve been planning and dreaming about for so long,” said John. “Seeing it happen is definitely the most rewarding.”

Growing up, Alyson and John were always at the Olympic Diner in Deer Park, which their father owned for 39 years. There, the brother and sister duo learned to love the diner and the business that comes with it.

“The diner was our second home and it was a great place to grow up,” Alyson said. “However, we eventually wanted to break away from our dad’s business.”

Their father later sold the Olympic Diner to help them with the opening of the Whiskey Down Diner.

Alyson explained that Peter mentioned the idea of the new diner and a possible name for it—Whiskey Down. The phrase “whiskey down” is old-school diner language that translates to “rye toast.”

Farmingdale has been the family’s primary target to open their diner for more than two years. About four years ago, John began coming out to the Farmingdale community to hang out with friends and realized that the location is up and coming.

“We thought the area was a good middle ground location on Long Island,” he explained.
Alyson added, “We are really happy with the area.”

Alyson explained how the family had about four places on a lease, but Main Street became the family’s priority, due to the near proximity to the train station.

One component of the diner is a bar that serves at least 20 different types of whiskey, a wide wine selection and local beer on tap.

“The bar is amazing,” Alyson shared, adding that all of the cocktails are handmade in house, including the components to them. “Our bar manager, Jonathan Gonzalez, is a great mixologist and he elevates classic cocktails.”

In terms of food, instead of a huge menu, the diner features about five or six items per category to focus on quality.

Popular items so far include breakfast poutine, sweet potato tots, the Whiskey Down deluxe burger and wings, which are made with homemade sauces.

“The quality of the food is great,” Alyson said, explaining that the menu has seen a positive reception, and will eventually expand. “I believe people will appreciate a smaller menu rather than having a million options.”

Alyson also shared that opening week was very successful.

“It was surreal, it was very exciting and happy,” she said. “If the first two weeks are any indication of success, we will always be very busy.”

The Kanaras family hopes that people will appreciate the fact that the diner is a family run business. The diner will be introducing outdoor seating in the coming weekend. A goal the family has for the diner includes one day expanding the location, and in a year or so, looking for the next location for another Whiskey Down Diner. Also, the diner will eventually start doing deliveries to customers.

John shared that the feedback has been tremendous and that there is already a great local following and a lot of repeat customers.

“We got through everything and everything is smoothed out,” he said. “Every day gets better and better. We’re extremely happy to be in Farmingdale.”

To experience Whiskey Down Diner’s classic fare, visit the restaurant at 252 Main St. in downtown Farmingdale. To explore the menu and to learn more about the new establishment, go online at www.whiskeydowndiner.com.

Maya Brown is a reporter with Anton Media Group.

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