"South Jersey's Best Diner's" manager shows hard work equals success

"South Jersey's Best Diner's" manager shows hard work equals success

A Story by Kat Wentzell

Everybody loves Larry.


              Photo by Kat H. Wentzell

          Larry Tiligadas (right) with long-time friend and customer Bob 

           Johnson (left) on March 9th, 2017 at Point 40 Diner.

It is 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the quaint little town of Pilesgrove, N.J.  White flurries fall like frozen gumballs from the sky.  The sun hides behind brooding, looming clouds.  The cool, glass front door of Point 40 Diner slides open and a pair of snow-caked dress shoes crunch inside.  A thick, wooly black coat is peeled off with a shiver.  A striped scarf is unraveled, revealing rosy cheeks and a wide, platinum smile.

“Hello, everyone,” says the incomer, throwing up his gloved hands.  “It’s a beautiful day!”  

The whole diner erupts into excited murmurs.  People shout out animated greetings.  A few customers get up to offer friendly handshakes.

This is the daily routine at Point 40 Diner, as it has been for over 23 years.

Six out of seven days of the week, Lambros “Larry” Tiligadas shows up to the establishment to perform his job as manager, rain or shine.  Neither New Jersey’s bipolar weather patterns, cavernous potholes, nor bustling traffic can deter Larry from his job, or as he likes to call it, his family.

Tiligadas has been working at Point 40 Diner since he was 16 years old.  His diligence was recently awarded when Point 40 was named “South Jersey’s Best Diner” of 2017.  With the honor and accolade under his belt, Tiligadas continues to work with extreme rigor and care.  His staff and customers alike appreciate him for the way he runs his business and the way he gives back to the community.

“Working under Larry is a very good experience,” said Taylor Davis, a waitress of five years at the diner.  “He’s my favorite, of course.  He makes work fun.”

“Larry is very energetic,” said Paul Pitman, a long-time patron of Point 40.  “He is nice to everyone.  He works very hard, and always has.”

Tiligadas, indeed, had to work very hard to get to his position today.  He was born and raised in Greece, and at age 16, was told by his father, whom was already living in the United States at the time, that he should come to the US and join the workforce.  Tiligadas immediately jumped at the proposition, became a US citizen, and began his working life in a new country.

“I didn’t have anything back home, no jobs,” said Tiligadas.  “[America] was the land of opportunity.  I loved it, and stayed here for good.”

Moving to a new country may sound like a daunting experience, especially to a young, vulnerable teenager, but Tiligadas was eager to start the new adventure.  His life was uneventful, even “boring” in Greece, and he had an intense drive to find a place where he could make a name for himself.    

This positive attitude is exemplified through Tiligadas’ daily work performance, and he utilizes it daily to build long-lasting, concrete relationships with staff and customers.  

“[Larry] talks to everybody, makes everybody feel like they’re home, and makes everybody feel welcome,” said Davis.  “We have a lot of regulars, and if someone doesn’t come in, he always makes sure that he calls them to make sure they’re okay.”

With this customer-centered practice, Tiligadas has maintained Point 40’s reputation of being a “family-friendly” business.  

“Larry shakes the hand of every man that walks in here, and [he] hugs every woman,” said Pitman.  “He knows everyone’s name and their jobs, family members, and just about everything else.”

Family is Tiligadas’ number one priority.  He has two sons and a wife, but also considers his customers to be family.

“Larry is nice to everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from,” said Pitman. “He gives everyone the same respect as he would his own blood relative.”

Tiligadas continues to represent “South Jersey’s Best Diner,” and he has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.  In fact, he plans to manage Point 40 until he retires.  This is wonderful news to the many people that adore the extroverted Greek.

“Everybody loves Larry,” said Davis, “Without Larry, this place would not be what it is today.”

Tiligadas is just as excited about continuing his work at Point 40.

“I love the people, I love the job,” he said. “I like to come to work every day.”

© 2017 Kat Wentzell

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Added on May 2, 2017
Last Updated on May 3, 2017
Tags: personality profile, south jersey, news, article, journalism


Kat Wentzell
Kat Wentzell

Galloway, NJ

♡ my name is kat. i am 19 years old. i'm a journalist for unclear magazine. here are my stories. ♡ more..