Patrons, Past and Present Flock to Beloved, Newly Opened Nick’s Diner

Patrons Past, Present,

Flock To ‘New’ Nick’s

Diner Open 2 Days to Packed Houses

Former Oneonta Mayor Nader, right, his wife Kathy, left and back, drove up from Long Island last night, and decided to include dining there in their weekend plans when they found out Nick’s was open. Kathy Nader’s mother and Oneonta resident Lorrie Wolverton, left and front, drove them. They eagerly wait for their first Nick’s Diner meal since it closed in 2013. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL  • Special to

Nick’s Diner’s co-owners Rodney and Sheena Thorsland, left, and customers Tyler Jeschke, 17, and his grandfather, James Wright, exchange stories of multiple generations of diners at Nick’s.

ONEONTA – A legend has been reborn – and it’s packed.

After four years of renovating and rebuilding, Nick’s Diner opened at 6 a.m. last Thursday with little publicity.  But word of the diner, beloved from its founding in 1927 to when it closed in 2013 – and sorely missed after it that – spread quickly.

“By 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., word got out and lots of people came in,” the diner’s General Manager Chuck Hanson said.  “We were so busy!”

Today, only two days after Nick’s “soft opening,” the diner was 3/4 full at noon, with patrons spanning several generations.  Among them were former Oneonta Mayor John Nader (2006-2010), now SUNY Farmingdale president on Long Island, his wife Kathy, and her mother, Lorrie Wolverton.

“Kathy and I drove up last night to visit my father,” Sam Nader, also a former mayor, the son said, “and decided we would come by the next day.  We loved Nick’s Diner when it was open before.”

“My grandfather grew up on diners,” James Wright said, who was sitting at the counter with his 17-year-old grandson, Tyler Jeschke.  “Everyone would come to Oneonta to drink and then go to the diners here,” he laughed.

Wendell Close, 59, on his third time eating at Nick’s diner since it opened Thursday, Feb. 7. He said he began eating at Nick’s in fall of 1985. “I’ve come here most of my life,” Mr. Close said. (Jennifer Hill/

Another customer at the counter, Wendell Close, 59, said he went to Nick’s Diner from fall of 1985 until it closed.  “This is my third time here since it opened on Thursday,” he added as he dug into his plate of pancakes, eggs, and potatoes.

Sheena Thorsland, who co-owns Nick’s Diner with her husband, Rodney Thorsland, said a group from Hampshire House, the assisted living facility, came in last night.

“They exchanged stories about eating at Nick’s when they were younger,” she said.

“A lot of people grew up on Nick’s, and now we’re ready for a new generation,” Hanson added.

Nick’s Diner’s is located at 220 Chestnut St., and is open 6 a.m-10 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays.   For more information, check the website

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