Plaza Diner moves into former Morey’s site | Local News

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It’s been a busy month for Plaza Diner owner Taki Karabinis as he moves his restaurant to a new location.

After serving Mother’s Day food in the Clinton Plaza restaurant on May 8, Karabinis closed the restaurant’s doors. He had purchased a building for a new location, and he and his staff immediately began preparations to move.

If all goes as planned, the restaurant will reopen on May 21 on the east end of Oneonta at 5536 State Route 7 in a building that long housed Morey’s Family Restaurant.

For decades, Morey’s was known for its large collection of miniature dollhouses and furniture that lined the walls and display cases inside. Owners Dick and Gail Morey ran the family business established in 1976 until their retirement last month. They sold the building and almost everything in it – except for the dollhouses – to Karabinis.

There’s a lot of work to do before Morey’s becomes the new Plaza Diner, restaurant manager Shasta Fletcher said Thursday afternoon as she finished sanding a wall in the dining room. “Dollhouses left a lot of holes that I have to fill,” she said. “Everybody’s like ‘do you keep the dollhouses?’ No we are not.”

“I plan to do all the painting tonight. I’ll probably be here until midnight. That means we’ll sand, patch and paint in one day,” Fletcher said. She has worked for Karabinis for a decade, since he ran the Neptune Diner on the south side of Oneonta and oversees the renovation, she planned to paint the front room a silver gray and the secondary dining room a pale blue.

The new owners kept none of the decades-old furniture: they donated it to the Otsego Reuse Center. Instead, they moved over all the tables and chairs in the Plaza Diner. The kitchen items – grills and coolers – also came from their old location and were installed on May 12.

In fact, the only thing the Plaza keeps from the old restaurant is some of the staff – the waitresses and the dishwashers.

On Thursday, the front kitchen counters were stacked with new mugs, menus, receipt books and power tools. The food had also arrived, rows of sauces, spices, pastes and juices lined the stainless steel shelves at the back of the kitchen.

Karabinis plans to keep the Plaza Diner menu consistent, with the addition of a salad bar. He plans to get a liquor license and will serve beer and wine, Fletcher said, with tentatively set hours of 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. most days.

The Plaza Diner was downtown on Main Street for eight years. Karabinis opened it about a year after the Neptune Diner closed. He had steered the Neptune jointly with his brother for about 25 years.

As Fletcher began to paint, Justin Barney, the owner of Aquasource, was in the attic installing a new water filtration system.

“The water was bad here, that’s why even the coffee tasted bad,” Fletcher said.

The new system will remove chlorine, use a carbon filter and UV light disinfection, Barney said. The building is serviced by well water, and most commercial properties along this stretch of Highway 7 in the town of Oneonta do not have good quality water, according to Barney. The neighborhood would benefit greatly from the extension of the municipal water service, he said, before going downstairs to get his bottled water.

Mike Forster Rothbart, editor, can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7213. Follow him @DS_MikeFR on Twitter.

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