Historic downtown Albuquerque diner to go on sale after 95 years
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s the end of an era for Downtown Albuquerque. The owners and operators of Lindy’s Diner at 5th and Central say they’re planning to put the building up for sale in the first week of 2024.
“You can’t do anything forever,” said Dawn Vatoseow. “It’s just been a really long time, and it’s just time for a new chapter, just something different.”
Steve and Dawn Vatoseow have been running the diner since 1994. It originally opened as the Coney Island Café back in 1929. Steve’s father bought and renamed the restaurant in 1960, and it’s been in the family ever since.
“Our kids grew up in here, our customers watched our kids grow up, I watched their kids grow up. It’s like a huge family,” Dawn said.
The diner is essentially a second home for the couple. Steve estimates they spend roughly 10 to 12 hours working at the diner every day – seven days a week.
The couple also spends most holidays working at the restaurant. They started serving free Thanksgiving meals to the public back in 2015.
“My father always said, ‘You’ll never get rich, but you’ll make a nice living and so on’,” Steve said. “It doesn’t give you a lot of free time to do other things, and we’ve come to the realization that family is first, and it’s time to spend more time with the family, and do things that we really haven’t been able to do because, obviously, being here.”
The Vatoseows say Lindy’s Diner will stay open until they find the right buyer – which could take weeks or months.
The couple says they don’t have any requirements for a new buyer, but they revealed it will be up to the new buyer to decide what happens to the diner.
“I’d like to see whoever comes in here be successful, whether it’s a brew pub, a restaurant, whatever,” Steve said. “It’s just time for new blood to come in here with new ideas, fresh ideas, and do whatever, or status quo continue running it as a restaurant.”
It’s not clear how much the building will go on sale for. Dawn says there will be a farewell party before the diner closes to give everyone a chance to say goodbye.
“There’s a lot of lives that Lindy’s has touched, not just ours, but everybody has a story, and everybody has a memory from Lindy’s,” Dawn said.
“We’ve done over 36 movies. All those are just really good memories to have,” Steve said, “And just being together with my wife, and being able to run a successful business, it’s meant the world to me, too. So I’m very fortunate.”