By Joe Liggio, Assistant Editor
For many Riverdale residents, Mar. 19 marked the end of an era.
Since 1985, Short Stop Coffee Shop had solidified its reputation as a quaint little diner, feeding countless patrons over the years from its location on Broadway just mere steps from the 242nd Street subway station.
This legacy came to a close on a Sunday night earlier this month, when the establishment shut its doors for the final time after serving its last few late night diners. Pink menus now peak out of the top of a dumpster sitting on the street, topping off a mixture of debris from the already in-renovation storefront.
As with many mom and pop restaurants in Riverdale, the influx of large chain eateries such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle and Dunkin Donuts throughout the neighborhood has taken its toll on business, despite a core, dedicated base of long-time regular customers.
Ten days prior to closure, the staff at Short Stop published a Facebook post reminiscing over the wide variety of customers to patronize the establishment over the years, ranging from “Manhattan College students who have shared many plates of cheese fries and chicken fingers on drunken nights, the Van Cortlandt Park track club that drives everyone equally crazy (love ya though), and all the regulars who our cooks and employees have served like family.”
Many from Manhattan College have fond memories of dining at the establishment. Geraldine Taylor, administrative assistant in the School of Business, said that she like to pick up soup from the restaurant during the winter, adding that “They had a great chicken rice and chicken noodle [soup].”
In addition to Manhattan students and staff, Short Stop serviced two notable customers in 2014, comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer, for which the restaurant was featured in an episode of Seinfeld’s own talk show web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
As the title implies, the Primetime Emmy Award-nominated series follows the comedian, along with a guest, as they drive to a café or restaurant to grab a cup of coffee. During the filming of a Season 5 episode, the 1971 Ferrari Daytona Seinfeld and Schumer were driving broke down en route to another restaurant for filming.
They ended up going to Short Stop instead, taking the time to mingle with employees, patrons, MC Students and MTA workers alike after ordering plates of eggs and toast.
Upon hearing of the restaurant’s closure, many returned to the establishment to eat for a final time.
Another Facebook post invited restaurant-goers to purchase t-shirts commemorating the diner’s tenure, adding that they take the opportunity to “Come by to pick one up, have one last wonderful meal and to say goodbye!”
Construction has already begun on a new business set to take Short Stop’s place within the next two months, but it’s clear that the memories made at the well-loved restaurant will remain on Broadway.
Moira Delaney contributed to reporting.