NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The owners of the Prestige Diner have purchased the building that housed the recently closed Friendly's Restaurant in the borough.

Patrons to the longtime site of Friendly's at 75 South St. were greeted Monday morning by a message on the door notifying the public that the restaurant has "permanently closed."

Jimmy Vardas and Harry Vardas, who own the Prestige Diner on Springfield Avenue around the corner from the former Friendly's, have bought the property. The sale closed on Monday, according to Borough Administrator Doug Marvin.

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"Friendly's had been a staple in the local community for over 30 years and a great corporate citizen as well," Jimmy Vardas said after the sale closed. "We definitely believe in the viability and economic prosperity of our downtown, and when the property became available we expressed our interest. New Providence offers the small town feel with great choices for merchants and shoppers. There has been interest from prospective tenants--and some plans of our own--but nothing we can confirm right now."

Borough Councilman Gary Kapner said, "Jimmy and Harry Vardas have been exemplary business owners in New Providence, always giving back to the community and putting our borough first.  New Providence will undoubtedly benefit from having the Friendly's former property in their capable and community-minded hands."