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Q&A with Steve Nikolakakos: Owner of Gracie's on 2nd Diner

Q&A with Steve Nikolakakos: Owner of Gracie's on

Q&A with Steve Nikolakakos: Owner of Gracie's on 2nd Diner (LISA FRASER) Photo Credit: LISA FRASER / LISA FRASER

This beloved diner at 300 E. 86th St. at Second Avenue has been in the neighborhood for 30 years. Dishing out meals like griddle cakes, wraps and pasta dishes, it is a popular spot where residents grab a quick bite or stay for hours and unwind. Though it's been in this section of the Upper East Side for many years, it has only been at its current location for eight months. It used to sit one block away on First Avenue. Nikolakakos made a deal to move the diner because of plans to build a high-rise where it sat.

What do you think of your new location?

I prefer it here. I wanted to move more west because the area brings more business, more people. And now I'm right where the new 86th Street/Second Avenue subway station will be so I couldn't ask for better.

How has the area changed over the years?

Thirty years ago at night this place was sketchy. People didn't feel safe on the streets. Now there are lots of families, a mix of residential and commercial buildings and younger people moving in. But there's still a good set of people who have lived here for years.

Any celebrities ever visited your diner?

Yes. Anthony Quinn, former [mayors] Rudy Giuliani and David Dinkins, and Mike Tyson.

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