RED BANK - An iconic restaurant in Red Bank has closed, shocking employees and local customers.
The Broadway Diner shut its doors after dinner Monday night. Regulars who raved about breakfast at the diner say it's a huge loss to the community, but it's an even bigger disappointment to employees.
Many showing up for lunch Tuesday were left hungry. "It's just a landmark, I'm stunned to find out they're closed," says Tammy Napoli.
Former owner Rocky Coviello gave a last look at the counter and booths with their Wall-o-Matic jukeboxes, which he says never worked. Coviello partnered with Bob Russo, who died in February. Now Russo's daughter has taken over with plans to renovate into a new restaurant despite the success of the diner.
About 40 employees were told they were out of a job on Monday, and were given no advance warning.
Alex Roche, a former waiter, is already hunting for a new job. "Right now, I'm scrambling looking for a job around here," he says. "Handing out resumes."
Waitress Cathy Kell says owner Bob Russo never would have closed the diner this way. "It was explained that Bob Russo's daughter was taking over, but we didn't know she was changing everything and we'd be losing our jobs."
To many, the Broadway Diner was much more than just a restaurant. "This is a piece of history leaving town," Napoli says. "It's a sad day for Red Bank."
Employees have told News 12 New Jersey that they will be able to pick up their last paychecks on Wednesday. Coviello says he'll hire employees willing to work at his other restaurants.
According to city officials, a new restaurant at the Broadway Diner space is expected to open within eight weeks.