Noel and Deonicio Lopez take over the storefront established by John and Kathy Anastasopoulos in 1990, adding their own touches to a neighborhood favorite.
By Matt Skoufalos | October 26, 2021
From the first day John Anastasopoulos opened the Westmont Coffee Shop with his wife Kathy, “it was always busy,” he remembered.
In 1990, turning the former Cumberland Farms convenience store at 317 Haddon Avenue into a reliable diner was just what the neighborhood needed, Anastasopoulos said.
Whether customers came by car, by bike, on foot, or via the PATCO Speedline across the street, they seemed to like what they found within.
For decades, the location served the Anastasopoulos family as well as it did its subsequent owners.
But when its most recent tenant, Westmont Diner owner Christos Prentzas, moved on after purchasing the former Crystal Lake Diner on Cuthbert Boulevard, Anastasopoulos found himself searching for new operating partners.
“Because this place was loved by the neighborhood and everybody liked to come here, I decided to renovate it myself,” he said.
Along the way, he met cousins Noel and Deonicio Lopez, who own a pair of diners in Hightstown and Monroe Township, and invited them to take on the Haddon Township location as well.
The cousins trace their culinary roots to nearly two decades at the Americana Kitchen and Bar in East Windsor, where they honed their skills before opening their own businesses. When they saw the opportunity in Haddon Township, “they said, ‘We love it,’” Anastasopoulos said.
“I’m here introducing them to the community,” he said.
When Prentzas left, he took the Westmont Diner name with him, leaving Anastasopoulos and the Lopezes to rebrand as the Haddon Diner. After refreshing the interior upholstery, flooring, and lighting, and changing out kitchen equipment, they opened up shop in early October.
Some things are as they used to be all those years ago.
The former Westmont Diner side entrance has been restored as the lone entryway for Haddon Diner, and the second storefront that Prentzas had transformed into a Greek market has been leased to new tenants and walled off.
The past month has marked a re-introduction of the old storefront to the community that’s supported it for years, and Anastasopoulos said the town has received the Lopezes just as warmly as they welcomed his family.
“I’m very happy because everything’s going well so far,” he said. “I’m happy that people are coming back.”
Although the Jersey diner scene has historically been upheld by Greek recipes, the Lopezes have brought their own cultural influences with them to Haddon Township.
That’s how you get a menu that serves quesadillas and chorizada omelets alongside gyro platters and broiled, crab-stuffed flounder; Noel Lopez also bakes the desserts in the display case from scratch.
“Everything is homemade,” Anastasopoulos said. “They amaze me. I’m happy that I found these guys. They make a lot of new dishes. ”
For Deonicio Lopez, the chance to bring his recipes and culinary perspective to South Jersey is a “very good opportunity.
“I like it here,” he said.
“This town is very clean [with] very nice people.”
For Anastasopoulos, who raised his family nearby, it’s a comfort to see the storefront he established as a younger man ushered into a new era in talented hands.
“I love this place,” he said.
“It made me sad to see it close, but I knew people would come back,” Anastasopoulos said.
“It makes me very happy to know that the place my wife and I created for 30 years is still going good.”
The Haddon Diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call 856-858-8444 or visit haddondiner.com.
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