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Metro 29 Diner faces uncertain timeline for reopening due to faulty sewer line

Metro 29 Diner will remain closed for at least another week, and possibly upwards of a month, due to a serious plumbing problem.

Peter Bota, the owner of the nostalgic New York-style diner, says it all started a few weeks ago after the restaurant’s grease trap — a plumbing device that separates grease, oil and excess food from wastewater — started malfunctioning.

“The stuff that was in the grease trap, the liquid and the grease started flowing into our parking lot. Fortunately, as nasty as it was, it didn’t come back into the building,” Bota told ARLnow.

Since that incident, Bota says the diner’s been stuck in “a holding pattern,” waiting on the green light from Arlington’s planning department to replace the sewer line along N. Albemarle Street adjacent to the restaurant.

“We are just waiting for our permits to be approved so we can do the [construction],” he said. “There will be a road closure on the side street Albemarle, and then there’s excavation to get to the sewer line and replace it.”

Permits filed with Arlington County indicate the work is slated to take place over the course of three days and cost about $15,000. The construction zone is expected to stretch about 20 feet, resulting in partial closures of the roadway and sidewalk along N. Albemarle Street.

Until the sewer line is fixed, Bota emphasized he can’t reopen.

“There’s nothing that we can do… We’re not allowed to operate since everything that goes out of the business in terms of liquid… is going to come back towards the building,” he said.

As for when the county might approve his permit, Bota remains hopeful but uncertain.

“Everything’s been submitted and is in the review process,” Bota said. “So, hopefully, [the county will] fast-track us since we’re an existing business and allow us to get reopened as soon as possible.”

In addition to being a North Arlington dining staple, Metro 29 Diner has had some famous visitors over the years, including then-Vice President Biden in 2012 and Guy Fieri for a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives taping in 2010.

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