Landmark diner closes

January 13, 2009 3:36:47 PM PST
It's the end of an era for Ginny's Luncheonette in South Bethlehem.It was one of those landmark eateries. The kind you'd mention if you were giving a traveler directions through South Bethlehem, Lehigh County.

Now though, Ginny's Luncheonette is closed, boarded up, and scheduled for imminent demolition.

"It is a little bit, yeah actually it's very scary," said Frank Halkias, whose family owned the business.

Ginny's Luncheonette fell victim to eminent domain when PennDOT decided to implement a widening project for Route 412. The Halkias's said having their business pulled out from beneath them was bad enough but making matters even worse is that PennDOT only offered them $250,000 for the property and the business. That's the same amount the Halkias's paid when they bought the business 20 years ago.

PennDOT officials defend that saying the offer was fair market value.

"We have real estate appraisers in house who are certified real estate appraisers just like if you were to hire to appraise your house," said Ron Young of PennDot.

But the Halkias's contend the property alone, not counting business, is worth more than that. Now though, they have no choice.

"Continue to search for relocation or find a job if we can't find a suitable relocation," Frank said.

"Everybody lost their jobs the waitresses, me and my son everybody I feel sorry," said Irene Halkias, the owner.

The Halkias's said they are contesting the payout but they are not optimistic.

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