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Now Open Under Former Ownership



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A very familiar face welcomed Dave Athans and Linda Bailey when the door of Sandy Hook Diner swung open Monday morning.

Former diner owner Ellie Lewis, who retired from the diner four years ago, had purchased the business again during the recent pandemic closure. The diner closed temporarily in March, and Lewis was contacted by the building’s landlord a few months later, she recently told The Newtown Bee.

After deciding to step out of retirement, and with help from friends and family, Lewis was ready to reopen the landmark eatery bright and early on July 27.

Longtime Sandy Hook resident Linda Bailey was very happy with that news.

“Do you know how long people have been waiting for this?” she said Monday morning. Sitting on the short stone wall outside the 98 Church Hill Road restaurant, Bailey pointed out that there had not been a place for coffee — or breakfast — for months.

A few doors east of the diner, Sandy Hook Deli & Catering also closed its doors a few months ago. It has yet to reopen.

Other Sandy Hook Center eateries also closed temporarily this year. All four — Cover Two Sports Café, Foundry Kitchen & Tavern, Subway, and The Villa Restaurant — have since reopened with safety measures in place, but none serve breakfast.

Monday morning, Bailey and Athans waited while Lewis made a few final adjustments to table settings, double-checked the Specials board, and even hung new signs in many windows.

Local architect and diner supporter Bob Mitchell surprised Lewis weeks ago. He created and then placed in front of the diner a sandwich board sign that announced not only that would the restaurant be reopening soon but also, in large red letters, the news that Lewis was returning. Mitchell also created matching signs that were hung in the diner’s windows.

Monday morning, Lewis proudly replaced the sandwich board and window signs with an updated message: Ellie’s Back! We are OPEN!

Former and current Sandy Hook Diner Owner Ellie Lewis slides a cup of coffee under temporary plastic dividers Monday morning to Dave Athans. Athans was one of the first customers at the counter when Lewis reopened the historic eatery at 6 am, July 27. —Bee Photos, Hicks
Ellie Lewis tapes a sign in one of the dining room windows at Sandy Hook Diner just before 6 am Monday, July 27. Lewis came out of retirement to purchase and reopen the landmark, which had been among the oldest continually operating diners in Connecticut until its recent temporary closure due to the pandemic.
Through the window of her reopened business, Ellie Lewis can be seen Monday morning after turning the lights on and welcoming customers into Sandy Hook Diner.
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