JERSEY CITY, N.J. — VIP Diner in Journal Square has been a Jersey City landmark for decades. Even HBO's "The Soprano's" shot at scenes at the diner to capture its classic interior and stone walls outside.
But now the property has a new owner, and the future of VIP is uncertain.
"I've been coming since my mid-20s," said Peter Orrico, a patron who frequents VIP more than once a week. "If they take this away, there is really nothing available in Journal Square for people to eat. You gotta go on Bergen Avenue."
"Honestly, I wanted to cry," said Kristina Hollenback after hearing the news. "I love this place so much. Everyone who works here is so great."
VIP is prized for their 24-hour breakfast, pastries and fried food, but also it’s large parking lot and central Journal Square location, making the property appealing to developers.
The site on Sip Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard is over a half-acre. It’s zoned for restaurants, businesses, offices or apartments up to 25 stories high, in an area pinpointed for redevelopment by the city.
"It's a shame. Everything is about politics, about money," said Calvin Walker, another diner patron.
A managing partner for the real estate brokerage who closed the deal stated the neighborhood is: “rapidly gentrifying” adding:
“There is strong demand for redevelopment sites in Jersey City and this location is well suited given it immediate access to a major roadway,” said Jose Cruz with Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.
"I'd rather see a diner instead of the apartments. We got enough apartments," said Jerry Norcia from a booth inside the diner.
The broker did not say who purchased the site.
NJ.com is reporting that the buyer is a company tied to Peter de Neufville, a top fundraiser for Governor Chris Christie and a former congressional candidate.
The buyer has not yet announced plans for the site.
"Should it close, I have no place else as a reference point in Jersey City," said a patron as he stood at the register. "I come here because it’s always here."