The Malaga Diner located in Franklin Township closed abruptly earlier this week. I stopped down yesterday hoping to catch someone still in the diner, but I was literally the only one there… just me and my car.
It’s a sad story of another New Jersey beloved community diner closing, but new owners are finalizing the process to take over the diner. It is expected to be closed for 5-6 months, likely after some undisclosed upgrades and also a new name, with an expected reopening of Spring 2024.
While 42Freeway knows who the new owners are, the purchase contract is not 100% settled as of yet.. so I have agreed to their request to not disclose that information yet.
The information of the closing and sale comes from the Malaga Diner Facebook page, where they formally announced on Friday (6 days ago) that after 25 years of ownership they had sold the Malaga Diner.
The owners went on to thank everyone for being with them throughout the years and wished everyone the best of health and happiness.
The Facebook post has over 160 comments and almost 400 shares.
The posts were filled with “good luck” for the owners and staff. Others praised the diner’s delicious food, excellent service and amazing staff.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a more honest outpouring of love from customers to a closing business. Truly the Malaga diner and it’s staff were more than just a restaurant… the diner was truly a part of the community.
- Thank you for the many years of delicious food and friendly service. You will be missed. Wishing you all the best in your new endeavors.
- Wow….such a great place. Wishing you the best.
- I’m so sad to see you go! My daughter wanted to work for you when she got older. And my kids practically celebrated their birthdays there.. you will be missed!
- Wow we will miss this place. My kids literally grew up here.
- I absolutely loved this place as a kid and even when I came to visit with family and my now Husband. He enjoyed it too. You all will be truly missed.
- Thank you for all of the years of great food and wonderful service you have given to the community. You will be missed.
- Oh my goodness me and my hubby are in shock we always visit you guys. All I can say is best of luck and thankyou for your service. Best wishes in your endeavors
- So many memories were made there. We moved out of state and faithfully go back all the time. It’s been like home away from home. Our children were basically raised there. We pray that God lead you in your next step and that your blessed as much as you’ve blessed us.
- First Ozzy now the diner. Such a great memory for my family. We wish you the best in your new path. Thank you for many years of memories !
And with the mention of Ozzy… well it’s been a very tough year for the Malaga diner owners, employees and customers.
Earlier this year Ozzy, a beloved member of the Malaga diner team, passed away from injuries sustained in a pedestrian motor vehicle accident while on his way to work at the diner.
While I never got to meet Ozzy, I can see from the commentary on two February Facebook posts that he was much more than just an employee at the diner… he was the face and personality of the restaurant, that all the customers knew and loved. A best friend and member of each customer’s family.
We all this man so much. He has hit all of our hearts. Been praying since it happened. We just can’t lose him. Malaga diner would never be the same without him. I want to thank Malaga diner for loving him so much and helping him & his family.Kathy R, commenting about Malaga Diner’s beloved Ozzy, soon after he was hit by a car walking to work (Facebook)
On February 18th the diner Facebook page posted the news of Ozzie’s passing, and again Facebook was filled with heartbroken customers… who all considered him part of their family.
Malaga Diner – Opened in 1959
The Malaga Diner address is 3433 Harding Highway, Franklin, NJ… but it’s more easily remembered as “where Routes 40 and 47 Meet”
And that is the same slogan that was used when the original (and smaller) Malaga diner opened in it’s current location back in 1959! Yes portions of the building have been at the intersection for almost 65 years!
But then before that, the original diner building actually traces back to 1940 when it first opened as the Publix Diner, located in Vineland at the N.W. corner of 6th Street and Landis!
Wait.. I’m not done! A 1940 article describing the opening (when it was in Vineland) stated it was a rebuild of the diner, which was damaged in a fire. I couldn’t track down the name or date of the diner prior to 1940.
(and as a side note, it’s funny to me how the article written 85 years ago has the same descriptive tone that I use today with 42Freeway, when describing new businesses! But I digress…)
The diner has changed hands a few times over the years and continued to be expanded and upgraded.
So honestly it was tough for me to trace back exactly when major rebuilds took place.. but it has me wondering if portions of the building, even just floor joists.. actually trace back to 1940?!
For at least six years starting in 1985, the diner was closed. A 1991 in the Philadelphia Inquirer describes a legal battle that took place regarding the new owners who planned on reopening dinner, along with an expansion. It was at that time they removed the steel front facade and built the stone exterior.
The caption in a June 2000 photo in the Daily Journal newspaper shares the Grand Opening of the Malaga diner after one of its remodels, where more than 1000 people free meals were given out as part of its grand opening celebration!
I never dined at the Malaga diner but after reading 100s of heartbroken comments from the community in several Facebook posts.. I am honestly very saddened over this closing, and the loss of Ozzy. I’ll definitely be back at the reopening with hopes that the connection remains for so many.
Links and Locations
3433 Harding Highway