The OB Diner in Point Pleasant Borough had filed for bankruptcy, is up for sale and may be sold to its former owners.
The popular local landmark, at Richmond Avenue and Route 88, has been dark and empty the last few days and there's a handwritten sign on the door that says "Closed, Will Re-open Soon."
The Ocean Bay, or OB, Diner has not been sold yet, said Sandy Keeton, a Realtor handling the listing at the Point Pleasant office of Coldwell Banker Commercial Riviera Realty Inc.
When asked to confirm a rumor that former owners are buying back the diner, Keeton said, "If that's what they told you" but would not elaborate. She would only confirm that Christo & Demetri LLC is still the owner.
That name is also listed as the owner of the OB property, which is 1.33 acres, in Point Borough municipal records. The property's address is listed as 1519 Richmond Ave.
James and Christopher Mitchel are listed as the owners of Christo & Demetri, according to Borough records. The Borough does not have a record of sale as of yet.
A man who would identify himself only as "John," who answered the phone at the Ocean Queen Diner, Route 70, Brick, said the owners of the two diners sold the OB a few days ago, but he shared no further details.
On a real estate website page, the property of 6,340 square feet is listed as having an asking price of about $1.7 million. The listing says the diner seats more than 100 people.
At the time, Tolis Corp. was the seller and carried back a mortgage of $1,125,000, so Christo & Demetri has apparently been making mortgage payments to the seller.
Christopher Mitchel, as president of "Point Pleasant Beach Diner Inc." doing business as "Ocean Bay Diner," filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 22, 2012, according to an online copy of the filing (see attached PDF). The "voluntary petition" has a long list of creditors owed a total of nearly $1.3 million.
The creditor owed the greatest amount is Tolis Corp., 6 Lawrence Drive, Brick, which was owed $914,691.22, as of May 22, according to the filing. Running a distant but still significant second is the state Division of Taxation which was owed $98,621. It could not immediately be determined if the amounts owed are still current.
Patch could not reach the former or current owners. Calls to their respective attorneys were not immediately returned.
Facebook has been abuzz with local chatter about whether the diner on the eastern edge of Point Borough, that had a devastating fire and then re-opened in late 1992, can make a second comeback.
Clearly, the diner still has its fans. Around lunchtime Friday, a number of would-be patrons pulled up to the OB diner, only to drive off in disappointment. There is a "Help Wanted" sign on the front window, but no telling when that was posted. The diner's phone number has been disconnected.
There is no information listed on the Ocean County Health Department website indicating that any warning or violation notice has been issued to the local eatery.
Patch has left a message with John Protonentis, director of the county health department's environmental unit, that handles restaurant inspections, but he did not return the call.