Restaurateur now will focus on nearby Fort Cafe
FORTY FORT — Starting this week, the White House Diner will be under new management. But longtime fans of the Forty Fort staple don’t have to worry — everything’s going to stay the same.
“The new owners are going to be open on Tuesday, and everything is going to stay as it is,” said Jeff Piazza, who owned and operated the White House Diner for eight years before finalizing the sale of the business on Saturday. “Today [Saturday] is my last day.”
Efforts to reach the new owners were not immediately successful on Saturday; the Times Leader hopes to speak with them for an upcoming story on the transition.
Piazza was the third owner of the diner, which he referred to (and most area residents would be quick to agree) as a “institution” in the borough. Altogether, the White House Diner has been in business for over 85 years.
The restaurateur said that he had wanted to branch out from his fine-dining background when he initially purchased the White House Diner. Piazza was the co-owner of Gelpiaz in Kingston, on the site where Kevin’s Restaurant now sits.
“I wanted to get out of nights and do something different,” Piazza said. “I realized though that I missed putting the pizazz on the table.”
That desire led Piazza to the Fort Cafe, located on Wyoming Avenue not too far from the White House Diner’s home on the corner of Welles Street and Elizabeth Street.
The move allowed him to get back into dinner service and return to some of his fine-dining roots, which he tested at the White House Diner with Friday night fine-dining specials.
Now, the time has come for Piazza to put his focus on the Fort Cafe, which was a big part of why he decided to turn the White House over to new ownership.
“I’ll always be able to say that I owned Forty Fort’s two pre-World War II diners at the same time,” Piazza said.
Though it may be the end of an era at the White House, Piazza was quick to point out that this wasn’t a sad occasion, but rather cause for celebration.
“This isn’t a sad thing, this is what’s best for everyone involved,” he said. “This is a happy day.”