News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


rodney thorsland

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.

Nick’s Diner Slated To Re-Open in January

New Owner To Reopen

Nick’s Diner In January

Standing behind the counter at Oneonta’s Nick’s Diner today, Rodney Thorsland looks ready for business and almost is: He’s planning to reopen the venerable establishment on Chestnut Street in January. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

The new, updated kitchen at Nick’s Diner.

ONEONTA – Whether you’re in the mood for a classic porkchop dinner, some classic Italian fare or even a pizza to take to a party, Nick’s Diner will soon have you covered.

Under the new ownership of Rodney Thorsland, the rennovated West End establishment is slated to open in early January. “The idea has always been to preserve it, to upgrade it, but have it historical-looking,” Thorsland said.

He and Ed May, who owns the property, appear to have fulfilled their vision.  May, who worked on the building’s structural design, kept the arched ceilings and narrow width of the railroad car the diner’s founders used when they ran Bob & Dan’s Diner in 1927.

Council Approves Nick’s Application

City Council OKs

Nick’s Diner Plan

$230K CDBG Application Albany-Bound

With daughter Amiley and wife Sheena tearfully hugging him, Rodney Thorsland celebrates the approval of his CDBG grant application, moving him one step closer to solidifying the $230,000 grant. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special To

Oneonta’s Eric Dohner spoke out in opposition to Thorsland’s grant application, saying that he was “personally offended” by the application.

ONEONTA – The audience filled the seats and spilled out into the hallway as the Common Council again debated, then approved Nick’s Diner’s application for a $230,000 CDBG grant.

The vote enables Nick’s prospective owner Rodney Thorsland’s to submit the application to Albany for its approval.

Thorsland’s request has been hotly debated in the past three Common Council meetings, with several community members speaking against the proposed grant at the past two Common Council meetings.

“As a businessman who has invested one and a half million dollars of my own money in local business, I find it personally offensive that the city would even consider supporting giving a grant to a business that is not unique to the community in any way,” Dr. Eric Dohner, who operated New York Skin & Vein, said this evening.

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