Diner owners Petros Emmanuel Litos and Mary Mastoris, who owned and operated three and one prominent New Jersey diners, respectively, have died.
He died on May 5 at age 59, and she died on May 16 at age 98.
Litos recently moved to Allentown, Pa. to operate the Starlite Diner.
Both Litos and Mastoris created diners that were pillars of their communities, Mastoris in 1961 and Litos in 1986 with the Somerset Diner.
“At every stop and with every day, he grew a reputation as a dynamic individual enthusiastic and diligent and always helping the next generation live their dreams as he lived his,” Gov. Phil Murphy said of Litos during his May 21 COVID-19 press conference. Litos died of COVID-19.
Mastoris, whose father opened the Hightstown Diner in 1927, “certainly made her mark,” according to The History of Diners in New Jersey author Michael Gabriele, who used Mastoris as a source for his research.
“The Mastoris diner started as a modest diner, and now it’s a restaurant, a catering hall, a dining hall. It’s a big American success story,” Gabriele said. “And a woman in the diner business, that’s pretty remarkable. The precursor to the diner was horse drawn lunch wagons through the 1920s, which were men only. Women weren’t allowed.”