The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

December 15, 2012

The Diana Restaurant served area diners for many decades

(Continued)

This change was cause for a festive affair, as Lambros secured Jimmy Thomas and his Aristocrats of Rhythm for dancing and entertainment in the afternoon and evening. Diana Sweets was still at 156 Main St. for several more years, but the store stopped making candy sometime in the 1940s. Eventually the entire restaurant became known as the Diana Restaurant.

George Lambros and Helen Stam, son and daughter of Harry, began working at the Diana in the 1930s, and saw the restaurant through ownership changes in 1991. 

George and Helen saw plenty of changes in their years. In 1970 the restaurant was totally remodeled. A suspended ceiling was installed, covering a painted tin ceiling. The soda fountain with its spinning stools, was replaced by more booths. The tile floor was covered by carpet.

The Diana continued to draw a good lunch crowd, with most coming from local businesses. When Interstate 88 was built, the restaurant lost a lot of the tourist business, as motorists had previously passed through downtown on state Route 7.

Hoot Gibson was among some of the old time performers who ate at the Diana, as they were on their way to performances. 

“Thomas Dewey had a steak here,” Stam said in 1991, regarding a visit by the former New York governor.

George Lambros once referred to the restaurant business as a family affair, as other siblings worked there until they went to college, and then came his own four daughters. He also referred to it as a lot of hard work and quipped, “Lincoln may have freed the slaves in the Civil War, but he forgot to free the Greeks in the restaurant business.”

The Diana was sold to new owners in 1991, who kept the name for awhile. The storefronts at 156-160 Main St. have remained as restaurants since, offering a variety of menus and culinary tastes.

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Mark Simonson

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