The Milford Diner is a 60-year-old institution in the city, but its future remains uncertain following the murder of owner Michael Gklotsos in September.
Gklotos' daughter, Irene, confirmed last week that her family is attempting to sell the diner on North Walnut Street, which has been closed since Oct. 7.
She said her family has not hired a real estate broker to help them unload the business that her father purchased in mid-2011.
"We're doing it ourselves," she said, adding that the family has no plans to sell their other restaurant, the Hollywood Diner in Dover.
Irene Gklotos declined to comment further, except to say that the decision to close the businesses was a direct result of her father's death.
Micheal Gklotsos, 59, was strangled inside his Dover home Sept. 17 in what police have described as a home invasion robbery.
Two Pennsylvania residents –a 20-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman – were arrested on first-degree murder, robbery and other charges Sept. 19. A 16-year-old girl from Pennsylvania also is charged with robbery and other crimes in connection with the incident.
Minh Tran, whose family owns the land on which the diner sits, as well as the Shanghai Restaurant next door, said Wednesday that the Gklotsos' have been in negotiations with a potential buyer, although no sale agreement has been reached.
Tran said his family is not seeking to sell the property, as some reports have indicated. But he did say they would be willing to renegotiate the lease agreement that Gklotsos signed when he purchased the business.
"We want to help the family sell the diner," he said.
Slaughter Beach resident Frank Draper said that lease agreement is what led he and his former business partners in Milford Diner Inc., to sell the restaurant to Gklotsos.
"We were in the process of negotiating a new lease with the Trans when Gklotsos came along and made an offer to purchase the diner, while also making an offer to pay them a ridiculous rent increase, like twice what we were paying," he said. "Before that, we didn't really have any interest in selling, but he made a good offer, even though the sale ended up not being a very pleasant experience."
Draper, who purchased the diner with three other partners in the late 1970s, said he was saddened to see his former business fall on hard times.
"We purchased it when the original owner filed for bankruptcy and we built it up into a Milford landmark," he said. "When we gave it up, we had a lot of locals who were eating three meals a day there. It was hard to see it lose all that trade."
Page 2 of 2 - Given the cost of the lease and the decline in business, Draper said he was surprised the Milford Diner was able to remain open as long as it did.
"It lost all of its quality and everything we worked so hard to build," he said. "When people in Milford go out to eat, they're interested in the quality of the food, not flashing lights and Teddy bear machines. By the end, I don't think they were doing enough business to operate a phone booth."
Draper said he's heard several rumors about the diner being sold, but dispelled reports that he's among the potential buyers.
"I've heard at least two or three names of people who supposedly have bought it," he said. "Everyone keeps telling me that I should look into buying it again, but at this point, I'm too old for that foolishness."