The last day at the Forum Diner at Bay Shore is August 7; there are plans to reopen
Update: Since our initial report, the Forum Diner property at Bay Shore has contacted GreaterBayShore to say there are plans to reopen the space. No other details are available yet, but check back for updates. We regret the mistake of reporting that the space was closing permanently.
Original report: It’s a sad day for Bay Shore.
After more than five decades on West Main Street, The Forum Diner closes August 7th.
Whether celebrating a special occasion, reuniting with loved ones, or grabbing late night food with friends, the Forum at 315 WE Main St. was a favorite gathering place that locals, young and not so young, have learned to love over the past 52 years.
“It was always another home for people,” manager Matt Moraitis said. “Especially our regular customers whom we saw every day. They were like our family.
Moraitis said business began to “slump” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state-mandated shutdowns and subsequent dining restrictions that spanned 2020.
“It didn’t even feel like it was a slow fall, the ground came out from under us,” he said.
Business was down about 35%, Moraitis said, and the restaurant has continued to struggle since the pandemic hit.
The Diner Forum team was relying on a government COVID-19 grant to stay afloat, but due to lack of funds, the small business program stopped accepting applications, Moraitis said.
The restaurant has also been hit hard by inflation, he said. Soaring food prices have become too much for small business.
The manager said that even with the price increase on the menu, “the math doesn’t add up.”
“A few weeks before Easter, we were paying about $45 for 30 dozen eggs, and today they’re about $120 for that same case of eggs,” Moraitis said. “It was overnight…the cooking oil we were paying $19 a year ago is $46 now.”
Moraitis said Forum isn’t the only restaurant currently impacted by food inflation — it’s happening across the country.
Unfortunately, small businesses are hurting the most and he wants more to be talked about, he said.
He also said he expected residents of Bay Shore, Brightwaters and surrounding communities to pack the place on his last day in business.
After all, he said, we’ve been making memories together for 52 years.
“I love the Bay Shore area, Brightwaters and West Islip, I’m going to miss it so much,” Moraitis said. “I have the absolute best employees anyone could ask for. I can’t imagine anyone having better employees, better food and us having the best customers.
“I will really miss them a lot.”
For those who want to say their final farewells, the Forum Diner will remain open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. On the last day of opening, August 7, the diner will close at 3 p.m.
Above: Exterior of the Forum Diner. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.