Plattsburgh Says Goodbye To Dukes Diner

Duke's Diner

Feature Photo: Brian Kachejian 2023

Its always tough when a cherished town restaurant closes its doors for the final time. That happened this month when Dukes Diner served their last delicious cup of soup. On Sunday November 12, 2023, long time owner Chris “Chefy” Duquette walked out of the kitchen for the last time. While the diner will close for a few weeks, it will open again under new owner Melanie Desso sometime in December.

I have spent the past few years visiting Plattsburgh, covering the city as a journalist. One of my favorite stops was always Duke’s Diner. I have eaten at Duke’s at least a dozen times in preparing to write a full review of the restaurant. Every time I felt ready to publish the review, I hesitated, saying to myself, let me go back one more time to really sample as much of the menu as I could. Every single item I ever ordered at Dukes Diner was just fabulous. It was food cooked with a lot of love and of course, taste. The food was always fresh, and I was always shocked at how cheap the menu prices were. The one thing I did notice was it was never really that crowded. That wasn’t because of the food; it was simply the same reason many other restaurants have gone under.

The pandemic not only prevented people from stopping to go out to eat during the pandemic, but it also changed the eating habits of many people in the years since Covid gripped the world. Some restaurants have come back with no problem, but for others, it has had a lasting effect. From reading some local newspaper interviews and social media with Chris “Chefy” Duquette, the impact of the pandemic on his business very much played a role in his decision to walk away from a diner he owned for 26 years since he was 22 years old.

I never really talked to Chris, but I always saw him cooking the food through that old-school open window that divided the kitchen and the restaurant. I only went to the counter if I was taking out food; most of the time, I sat in one of the booths and enjoyed an atmosphere that still seemed to be bathed in the 1960s.

I always loved the soups at Dukes Diner. I had never experienced a cup of soup so stuffed and spilling over the brim. My favorite was the Beef Barley that Chris made. The chicken noodle was also pretty special. I would write more about this soup and the other food items in detail as planned, but what’s the point? This article has now turned into a tribute rather than a review.

Duke's Diner

Feature Photo: Brian Kachejian 2023

Duke's Diner

Feature Photo: Brian Kachejian 2023

Dukes Diner was only open for breakfast and lunch. They always closed at 2:00 pm. One of the breakfast specials that I always ordered was the Eggs Benedict. This would put a smile on your face that would last for the rest of the morning.

Duke's Diner

My last meal at Duke’s Diner was a fantastic BBQ chicken special with mashed potatoes and stuffing. It was under ten dollars. Excellent price and food to die for.

Duke's Diner

I read on social media that Chris “Chefy” Duquette,  who owned Dukes Diner, is moving to Florida. From the cold, frozen grey sky winters of Plattsburgh to the sunny, hot, and humid shores of Florida, the man is moving from the furthest northern point of the United States on the East Coast to its furthermost southern point. That’s quite a climate change. We hope Florida serves him well, as well as he has served the town people and college students of Plattsburgh for twenty six years.

Plattsburgh Says Goodbye To Dukes Diner article published on ClassicNewYorkHistory.com ©2023

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