Longtime diner Linda’s Cafe is closing its doors and could soon be replaced by another Arlington institution: Bob and Edith’s Diner.
General manager Joe Ellian told ARLnow he heard from attorneys for the restaurant last Thursday (May 31), informing him that they’ve purchased the small space at 5050 Lee Highway from his landlord and giving him 30 days to move out. Bob and Edith’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment on their plans for the property.
“I’m going to miss all the customers and the neighborhood so much, it’s just very sad,” Ellian said. “It just isn’t enough time for a restaurant to pack up… I have bills to pay, food to sell, a family.”
Ellian says he’s run Linda’s out of the Lee Highway location for the last 20 years, and he’s heartbroken to be leaving the area. The restaurant was known for its all-day breakfast and burger offerings, as well as a sometimes colorful Twitter account.
“It was like a family here, we had good relationships with all the customers,” Ellian said. “As soon as we saw a car pull up, we knew who it was. We knew their order and had their food waiting for them.”
Ellian notes that he never had trouble making rent, but believes his landlord, Joe Djassebi, received a lucrative enough offer that he felt forced to sell. The property had an assessed value of more than $757,000 in 2018, according to county records.
Ellian isn’t sure what he’ll do next — he is hoping to bargain for more time to move all his equipment out of the Lee Highway location — but he may move Linda’s elsewhere in Arlington, if he can find the right spot.
“A good location is hard to find,” Ellian said.
Bob and Edith’s currently operates two diners in Arlington, with another in Alexandria and one in Springfield.
— Linda's Cafe (@LindasCafeVA) May 31, 2018