Bad news if you were planning on finally embarking on that pilgrimage to iconic locations from Goodfellas—one of the film’s most iconic locations is apparently no more. After a fire sparked up Monday afternoon, the “GoodFellas Diner,” as it was now literally known, has suffered severe damage. The longtime Queens dining location will be put out of business for a long, long time at the very least.
The diner’s co-owner Dinise Diamintis told the NY Post that they’ll try to reopen the diner as soon as possible, but at the time she was also seemingly in shock as to the extent of the damage. “Everything is destroyed,” she told the Post. “My God, everything is destroyed.”
More than 60 firefighters descended on the iconic 24-hour diner, which had been in operation since the 1960s. Originally called the Clinton Diner, it was purchased by the current owners in 1985, and served as a filming location to multiple Goodfellas scenes in 1990. Eventually, the association between film fans and the diner became so strong that the owners simply renamed the business as the “GoodFellas Diner.”
In particular, the diner figures prominently in two major scenes between Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill and Robert Deniro’s Jimmy Conway. In the first, Hill and Conway wait in excitement while their friend Tommy (Joe Pesci) is waiting to become a “made man,” only to learn that Tommy has instead been whacked as vengeance for the killing of made man Billy Batts, causing Deniro to kick over a phone booth in anger. In the second scene, Hill and Conway meet again years later, ostensibly to discuss Hill’s upcoming trial, but in reality to set up Hill’s eventual attempted murder. That scene is a classic in the Scorsese playbook, using an unusual camera technique of both retreating and zooming simultaneously to create unease as the two characters talk.
It’s not just Goodfellas that filmed at the location, either. In the years that followed, many films and TV shows sought out the same location, including episodes of The Good Wife, The Americans and Elementary. In all actuality, the GoodFellas Diner might be one of the most photographed restaurants in America, which makes its immolation all the sadder.
Raise a coffee toast to the fallen diner, and let’s hope it eventually gets reopened. In the meantime, you can watch the two classic scenes from Goodfellas below.