Restaurant Notes extra: Fort Wayne’s Liberty Diner reopening Thursday

Lady Liberty will be greeting customers at the door of Liberty Diner when it reopens Thursday morning. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
A sign lets customers know that Liberty Diner, 2929 Goshen Road, will reopen at 5:30 p.m. Thursday after a week-long Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health-ordered closure for structural repairs and other changes. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Liberty Diner George Smyrniotis makes a call Wednesday to get food deliveries for Thursday, when the diner will reopen. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
A flag-draped replica of the Statue of Liberty lights the way to pay at Liberty Diner. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel)

Liberty Diner, which was closed last week by the Allen County Board of Health after water leaked from the roof into the food preparation area, will reopen at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, according to its owner.

George Smyrniotis, who opened the restaurant in 2000 in a former Azar’s at 2929 Goshen Road, said fire, building and health inspectors had signed off Wednesday morning on the fixes made.

Smyrniotis sounded extremely relieved that he’ll be back in business serving avgolemono (egg-lemon-chicken soup) and all the other menu items, and where customers see a miniature Statue of Liberty and other patriotic items when they head to the register to pay. A month ago he moved another Statue of Liberty that had been hidden toward the back of the restaurant to the vestibule where she’ll be greeting customers again.

We found him seated at a booth in the empty dining room Wednesday where he was on the phone to make sure a food delivery would come Thursday.

The flat roof in the back part of the restaurant had gotten plugged, probably by a collection of ice and snow, Smyrniotis said. When it rained heavily last week “all of a sudden it became a lake up there,” he said.

According to the health inspection report from Feb. 20, “Inspector observed rainwater leaking onto food equipment, food preparation surfaces, above the ware washing area, above the walk-in cooler doors, the customer dining area, and in several other areas of the kitchen and back storage areas. Due to rainwater leaking into the establishment and causing an imminent health hazard, the establishment will be CLOSED.”

Because the fixes were made to the roof and the back of the restaurant, customers likely won’t see any changes, Smyrniotis said. We stopped by Monday night and saw workers hard at work on the repairs and cleanup. With everything freshly inspected, we have no qualms about heading there for lunch Thursday. Spinach salad, here we come.

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 260-461-8354, send email to or a fax to 260-461-8817 or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.