Nearly a decade after closing, beloved Philly diner will be reborn with new development

The former owner of the Oak Lane Diner has plans to bring the business back after a fire closed it in 2015.

Rendering of a building

A rendering of the proposed development in West Oak Lane, including the re-opened diner. (Courtesy of PARALLEL ARCHITECTURE STUDIO LLC)

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A mixed-use development with 65 apartments for seniors is slated for the former home of a beloved diner in West Oak Lane.

Plans filed with the city show a seven-story building rising on North Broad Street where the long-shuttered Oak Lane Diner once stood. The proposal calls for a new diner on the first floor, office space on the second, and apartments above.

The project, located near 66th Avenue and Old York Road, also includes an underground parking lot with 19 spaces and an outdoor lot with 20 spaces.

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The proposal is expected to cost upwards of $20 million to make it a reality.

new building
Rendering shows the planned development. (Courtesy of PARALLEL ARCHITECTURE STUDIO LLC)

“They need something really nice to be there,” said Tony Elebah, president of Abeer LP, which owns the site.

Forty-six units will be affordable. The rest will be market rate.

Rents have yet to be determined.

Elebah bought the Oak Lane Diner in 2007. The business, which dates to the 1940s, has been closed since a fire caused extensive damage in 2015.

In the aftermath of the blaze, Elebah elected to demolish the diner rather than rebuild. The site has sat vacant ever since, though the business’ signature coffee cup sign has remained.

The new Oak Lane Diner will be open seven days a week and serve breakfast and lunch to start, said Elebah. Depending on the response, dinner may be offered, but Elebah doesn’t foresee a 24-hour operation.

He’s confident the crowds will return nonetheless, in part because people never stopped asking him about reopening.

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“A lot of people love the place,” said Elebah. “It’s a shame to lose it.”

Construction could start as soon as next summer.

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