Golden Eagle Diner Owner Retires, Hands Keys to New Operator
Huseyin Gunaydin has been a staple at his Golden Eagle Diner for 35 years.
Starting Monday, Gunaydin will hand over the business to Fahri Ekiz, who is buying the Golden Eagle Diner at the corner of Route 13 and Bath Street in Bristol Borough after a career operating similar restaurants in New Jersey.
“I’m getting old and tired. There is no other reason,” Gunaydin said of his motivation for the sale.
Gunaydin is proud of his decades running the restaurant which seats several hundred people and has a bar.
“We have a good operation. It was a lot of hours and I’m ready not to go to work anymore,” he said.
Gunaydin, a Turkish immigrant who came to America in 1977, started working as a dishwasher at the Marlboro Motor Lodge in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
From his job as a dishwasher, Gunaydin worked his way up to short-term cook and then baker, one job saw him work from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The long hours paid off and Gunaydin was able to buy a restaurant in South Jersey and then also bought the Golden Eagle Diner. He then sold the New Jersey restaurant.
“What I’m going to miss… People,” he said. “I love my restaurant and I said to people, ‘thank you, people, for supporting me in this region and in America.'”
The restaurant, under Gunaydin’s ownership, completed a $1.5 million renovation in 2019.
Gunaydin said he employed 80 people before the pandemic and 40 currently.
Over the past few years, Gunaydin has been looking for the right person to take over his business.
Ekiz plans to retain the staff and menu when he takes office next week.
“He’s a good man and a good man for the restaurant,” Gunaydin said of the new owner.
Gunaydin, 75, plans to spend time relaxing for the first time in decades.
“I don’t want to be involved with restaurants anymore,” he said.
Over the years, Gunaydin said he tried to be as nice to customers as possible.
Starting next week, Gunaydin will transition from managing the restaurant to just another customer.
“I will stop for coffee or breakfast and lunch like everyone else,” he said.
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