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August 27, 2019

Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy to close after nearly 20 years in business

'The Diner is no longer financially sustainable,' co-founder says

Food & Drink Restaurants
Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy to close after nearly 20 years in business Courtesy of/Mike Prince

Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy to close after nearly 20 years in business.

Mt. Airy's Trolley Car Diner is closing on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Ken Weinstein, who opened the diner in 2000 with partners, made the announcement Tuesday morning.

"We made this decision after much thought and consideration, and with much sorrow," Weinstein said. "I am extremely proud of our hardworking team of employees and what we accomplished together in nearly 20 years of operations."

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trolley car dinerTrolley Car Diner/for PhillyVoice

The Trolley Car Diner's ice cream shop in Mt. Airy is located in an old SEPTA trolley car. The restaurant is next door.

When the Trolley Car Diner openedthere were few casual dining options in the neighborhood, Weinstein said. Now, there's tons of competition a short walk or drive away from the restaurant and ice cream shop.

"These new dining destinations have slowly eaten into our customer base," he said. "With significantly more options, the Diner’s sales have steadily declined, and they’re down by more than 20 percent since 2013. At the same time, many other costs associated with running a restaurant have continued to rise. Unfortunately, the Diner is no longer financially sustainable."

This year, Weinstein also closed the Trolley Car Station at West Philly's revamped 40th Street Trolley Portal Gardens after seven month in business.

"We will honor all gift cards at the Trolley Car Café in East Falls, which will remain open," Weinstein said. "Our main concern at this time, however, is reducing the negative impact of the closure on our employees, many of whom have been with us for years." 

Employees at Trolley Car Diner will have the first chance to apply for any open positions at Trolley Car Café, and management is also setting aside $100,000 for bonuses to employees who stay until closure. All staff who stay through Oct. 15 will receive a severance payment based on their current wages and a bonus based on the number of years they have worked at the Diner.

Trolley Car Diner also plans on organizing a job fair with other restaurants in the area to encourage local hiring.

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