West Manchester Township diner opens with new name, new ownership
Sherry Figard adores the quaint aspect of a 1950s diner and the decades of collective community memories that have been forged within its walls, and she's hoping a new name and new ownership will give a York County one a second chance at life.
“I’ve always liked the diner. I think it’s a really cool building,” she said.
Figard is the new manager at West Manchester Township-based Vicky’s Diner, the former Lee’s Diner.
Built in 1951, it was No. 301 out of 400 streamline, stainless steel, trolley-style diners built by Mountain View Diners Co. between 1938 and 1957, according to Figard.
Although the restaurant experienced several changes in ownership in the subsequent decades, it always retained its name.
“This is the first time it’s been called anything other than Lee’s Diner,” she said.
The name change was a decision by new owner Teddy Petropoulos, who bought the business from former owner Omar Ilayan in June 2018 and has a five-year lease on the building.
“I was looking for something to do and this came up. I really liked the location and the diner. I like the old style diners,” he said.
Petropoulos immediately went to work deep cleaning the diner, freshening up the paint, creating a new menu and hiring all new staff, including Figard as manager.
However, Petropoulos felt that the restaurant also required a fresh start with a new name, so he decided to name it after his daughter, Vicky.
Since taking over last summer, Petropoulos has installed televisions behind the counter, added new lighting and placed wooden dividers between the booths.
Artwork that was created by Petropoulos’s friend now adorns the walls, and the menu has been entirely revamped with the exception of one item that remains.
“We still have the ‘2222.’ It’s two pancakes, two eggs, two sausage links, two sides and bacon,” Figard said.
The new manager said it was important to revitalize the diner in a way that didn’t threaten its retro appeal. That’s why the countertop has been left untouched and each booth features a jukebox that’s original to the diner. Customers can still purchase three songs for a quarter, the same way customers did in 1951.
Don Carter, a Seven Valleys resident who has been coming to the diner for over 10 years, said he is happy with the new diner. He visits the diner several times a week to get his eggs over bacon.
“It’s great. The boss is cool, the waitresses are great,” he said.
Figard said that, although she’s only worked at the diner for a few months, she’s already on a first-name basis with many of the customers.
“They come in and tell their stories about how they came in here when they were kids,” she said.
Figard remains hopeful that more people will be willing to give the diner a chance, saying it has experienced a “slow, steady rise” in business since it reopened under its new name.
“It seems to be coming back to life, so to speak,” she said.