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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 30, 2010

To serve fresh, local produce
Metro 20 will re-open as Capital City Diner

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The Metro 20 Diner is slated to re-open in November under new ownership, as the Capital City Diner.

Bob Pilarinos purchased the diner from Demetrios Michael; Michael had owned the property since 1997.

The property, while under Michael’s ownership, had four outstanding tax warrants, according to Brad Maioni of the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance. In January, Michael challenged the diner’s assessment; it was valued at $1,631,500, and he asked for a nearly $1 million reduction.

Michael’s attorney at the time, Paul Goldman, of Segel, Goldman, Mazzotta, and Siegel, said the diner’s assessment was unfair. Guilderland Supervisor Kenneth Runion said this week that the challenge was settled out of court, and, according to the assessor’s office, the current assessed value of the property is $925,000.

Pilarinos declined to name the purchase price.

“I just want to get this thing done. This guy can’t even afford to pay his taxes,” Goldman told The Enterprise in January. Runion said yesterday, however, that, because Michael’s property taxes were in arrears, the new assessed value could not take effect.

Pilarinos told The Enterprise this week that the building is being renovated on the inside, to give it a new look; it will be a bit more modern, he said. The distinctive turquoise outside with massive Deco-style chrome trim will remain. 

Diners are a Pilarinos family business, and there are two other family-owned diners in the Hudson Valley — the Ambrosia Diner in Catskill and the Plaza Diner in Hudson. The Pilarinos family has been in the diner business for over 26 years.

“Opening a place and seeing it through, from the beginning to success, is satisfying,” Pilarinos said. He said his family had known about the Western Avenue diner for “quite some time,” and, when it became available, he jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s a great-looking diner in a fantastic location,” Pilarinos said. The diner is located on Guilderland’s busiest thoroughfare, Route 20, near Crossgates Mall. The food will still be traditional diner fare, he said, “but with a small twist.” The menu is still being worked out, but Pilarinos said it will feature fresh and local products.

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“We love having a relationship with the customers, and seeing them grow as we grow,” Pilarinos concluded. “We enjoy getting the regular customers in there and interacting with them.”