OAKLAND, N.J. – Oakland Diner owner Harry Mihas can’t wait to welcome his customers back into his restaurant.
And he won’t have to wait much longer. The diner -- which closed in December following a fire in the boiler room – is set to reopen this Wednesday at 6 a.m., Mihas said.
“I feel like a little kid. I have butterflies in my stomach,” Mihas said Monday, while sitting at a table near the front windows of his popular Ramapo Valley Road eatery.
Some of his staff were there Monday prepping for the reopening.
Following the fire, much of the building has been refreshed. The spot now has new electrical paneling, all new bathrooms, new lighting, and fresh paint and new shelving and appliances in the kitchen, Mihas said.
He also hired an artist, Cameron Chaney, to create new artwork for the inside of the diner.
Until the fire occurred, Mihas said he never realized how many people were fans of the diner.
He said he has been fielding “100, 150 phone calls a day” from people asking when the business would reopen.
“I thought I was the only one that loved this diner,” he said. “I had no idea.”
Mihas said he wants to thank “everybody around the community” who reached out to help following the fire, including officials with the borough of Oakland, contractors and customers.
He said some customers came by to drop off money for sidelined workers, and a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for staff garnered more than $16,000.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said.
Mihas, who purchased the diner about 10 years ago, said he thinks the diner is reopening just in time.
It has been closed for seven weeks, he said.
“That is just enough time to miss somebody, but not enough time to forget somebody,” he said.
“Wednesday is show time,” he added.