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Ed Townsend | Democrat

FRED LAGUTTUTA AND his son Paeden, insid the newly renovated Diner, which is scheduled to open this week.

Munson Diner Set to Open This Week

By Ed Townsend
LIBERTY — November 20, 2007 — The famous 57-year-old, 30-ton Munson Diner that formerly was located on 49th Street and 11th Avenue on the West Side of New York City will officially open this week on Lake Street in the Village of Liberty.
The former chrome and blue diner, which spent many years on the rough-and-tough Hell’s Kitchen corner, is world famous for being featured on “Seinfeld” and “Law and Order” and was an Andy Warhol hangout.
Local Liberty and Sullivan County Investors bought the diner for $30,000 and spend another $40,000 to move the diner to Liberty where it arrived on May 5, 2005.
The goal at the time of its arrival was to have it open with a grand opening around October 1, 2005.
The famous diner sat on its foundation for months and months with little progress towards much-needed renovation and it even evoked criticism from some.
Some light at the end of the tunnel appeared in April of this year when two young businessmen stepped forward with a proposal to renovate and lease the diner with an option to buy.
Fred LaGattuta of Liberty and Tom Russell of North Branch, working under the corporation of TAF Inc., negotiated a contract with the group that brought the building to Liberty that they would provide all the labor and perform all the renovations with materials supplied by the diner owners and the right to manage the business with a right to lease the building with an option to buy.
LaGattuta and his crew have completely remodeled the diner, adding an all new kitchen which will serve breakfast and lunch from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We will offer great food at the best prices in town,” LaGattuta said on Friday of last week as he looked to open either the day before Thanksgiving or the day after the holiday.
The diner will be able to seat 60 customer at its eight booths, 10 at the main counter and eight at two separate counters. A dining area for a large group or party will also be provided. The parking lot can accommodate 20 plus cars and a municipal parking lot is also just across the street.
LaGattuta plans on providing the management of the Munson Diner with three cooks and a waitress staff.
LaGattuta is also involved with Russell in the ownership of Callicoon Lanes and the 22-room motel at the rest stop in Parksville. There, renovations will soon take place on the former Sullivan Diner with hopes of opening in four to six months as Margie’s Diner – named after Fred’s mother.
When asked about special meals at the Munson Diner LaGattuta smiled and said, “look for our Monster (12 oz.) Burger with all the trimmings for only $6.50.”
Take outs and special senior citizen prices will be offered.
“Now,” LaGattuta said, “all I have to do is work on getting Seinfeld up here.”
The diner can be reached at 292-1144.

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