Diner delay frustrates city: Billy’s Downtown Diner’s opening continues to be postponed

After two successful venues in Bethlehem and Allentown, diner owner Billy Kounoupis has his sights set on his hometown: Easton. While the agreement to lease the first floor of 123 S. Third Street to Kounoupis was established nearly a year ago, the real estate has not been filled as of yet.

This is the latest in a series of attempts Kounoupis has made to open a diner in Easton, including moving into a building at the South Third Street site, which failed when the old building was in such bad shape that it had to be torn down, according to a 2015 article in The Morning Call. The restaurant was supposed to open that summer.

In autumn of 2016, there is still no end in sight.

According to a recent article on WFMZ-TV, Kounoupis said that there have been 18 addendums to the agreement since the original settlement. The delays have been caused by increasing prices of the venue since the original agreement. Now, the city of Easton has given Billy’s a two-week deadline to fill the space, which was smaller than anticipated, according to an article in the Express-Times.

“I am committed to bringing Billy’s Diner to downtown Easton,” wrote Mayor Sal Panto in an email.  “That said it cannot be subsidized by taxpayer money.”

“I am sure we will reach an agreement shortly,” Panto added.

According to a recent article in The Morning Call, Kounoupis had made it clear that he still fully intends to move into Easton. Kounoupis told The Morning Call that he already has “six figures” invested in the project.

“We were prepared to open in Easton several months ago,” Kounoupis said in an interview with the Express-Times. “Both of our restaurants (in Bethlehem and Allentown) are overstaffed with managers and staff ready to go.”

 

Written by Katie Gonick ’20

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