Nickel Diner in downtown LA to close due to inflation making price of food financially unsustainable

Leo Stallworth Image
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Nickel Diner in downtown LA to close due to inflating food prices
The Nickel Diner in downtown L.A. is closing its doors due to inflation raising the price of food. The increase in costs are creating a squeeze on many small businesses.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The five cent diner here in downtown Los Angeles opened in 2008. And for the last 15 years, customers have been going there and loving it.

Now, it's closing its doors.

"What's hard is that our business model isn't financial viable anymore. There are too many costs associated with running a restaurant," said the diner's co-owner, Monica May.

May said they survived the Covid lockdown and more, but they can't withstand rocket high gas prices, inflation and more driving up the cost of food.

Even the recent egg shortage driving up costs putting a bigger dent in the restaurant's budget.

"We all went through the egg crisis. We go through 10 cases of eggs, minimum, per week. And prior to the pandemic, we were paying $20 a case. In January, we were paying $100," said May.

The diner is just one of many business feeling the financial squeeze.

The U.S. chamber of commerce latest small business index report showing 54% of small business owners nationwide, citing inflation as their top concern.

The outpouring of love from customers at the Nickel Diner has touched the hearts of the owners.

"This hits you pretty hard? You don't anticipate peoples reactions with so much love in all the comments that people written to us and it's a little overwhelming," said Kris Trattner, the diner's co-owner.

Customers love mingling with the restaurant owners who don't mind a bit serving food and chatting it up with their regulars.

"It's a landmark down here. I've been eating here for 15 years. Wonderful food. Sad to hear it's closing. It's terrible," said Baker Ostern, a frequent customer.

The restaurant closes its doors for good May 28.

"We are part of the fabric of this community. And I know, when we leave, we leave a little hole in the fabric of here," said May.