Empress Diner was established in 1955. Danny and Mike Panagatosís father came to the United States many years ago and started in the restaurant industry by washing dishes. He worked as the counterman at the restaurant across from Empress Diner and was in awe of Empressís concept of baking fresh pastries on the premises and would watch big lines flow out of the restaurant each day. He always said he wanted to buy Empress Diner, and in 1967, he and his two brothers did just that. The Panagatos brothers kept the name Empress Diner and in 1972 did their first expansion. They were the first diner on Long Island to increase to 200 seats and change from the 50s and 60s aluminum style decor to Mediterranean inspired stone and arches. Danny explained that his father and uncles wanted to announce that diners are more than just a greasy spoon; that they can compete with fine restaurants in terms of taste and quality of seafood and steaks. Danny recalls he started working in the restaurant when he was ten years old, washing dishes for 50 cents an hour. By the time he was 18, Danny and his brother Mike were able to work their way through every position at the restaurant. In 2000, the retro look came back in style and Empress Diner did their second renovation. They expanded to 300 seats and remodeled to a more retro style diner. Empress Diner is most famous for their award winning pancakes – they are an absolute must-try item. Along with the pancakes, the onion rings are also highly recommended. Empress Diner makes their onion rings from scratch 24/7! Empress Diner also is popular for their 20 different types of oatmeals! Danny explained that they have better fish than waterfront seafood restaurants and get fresh fish deliveries each day. Danny and Mike took over the family tradition and now own and operate the restaurant together.
2490 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554