Restaurateur dies

Owner of Bordentown’s Mastoris Diner-Restaurant died Saturday at the age of 87.

By: David Pescatore
   HIGHTSTOWN — Nicholas A. Mastoris, owner of Bordentown’s Mastoris Diner-Restaurant, a fixture on Route 130 for more than 40 years, died Saturday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton at the age of 87.
   "He was very weak toward the end," said Mary Corcodilas Mastoris, his wife of 62 years. "This is a great loss."
   Ms. Mastoris said that her husband suffered a stroke about two months ago and battled the effects until his death.
   Mr. Mastoris was born in Alabama, but moved to Greece as a young boy. He returned to the United States at the age of 15, settling in Hightstown.
   "He worked at my father’s diner," said Ms. Mastoris, who was 10 years old when she met Nicholas at the Hightstown Diner.
   "He was like an older brother to us, a great guy. My father helped him to learn English. He left here not knowing how to speak Greek, then returned having forgotten English," Ms. Mastoris said.
   They would be friends for the next five years leading up to their marriage.
   "We knew each other like family. We just fell in love," she said.
   Mr. Mastoris became a business partner with his father-in-law and owned the Hightstown Diner for 20 years, leaving in 1960 to take over the Bordentown Grill, which later became Mastoris, with his wife.
   Over the next 40 years, Mastoris Diner-Restaurant became a Route 130 icon in Bordentown.
   "We serve people from all over," Ms. Mastoris said. "The diner is a great ‘in-between’ place for people to meet. It is like an airport or train station."
   In his spare time, Mr. Mastoris also was a member of Ahepa of Trenton, the Lions Club of Hightstown and the Manasquan River Gold Club.
   Mr. Mastoris retired from his diner after his first stroke, four years ago.
   "I think that was God’s way of making him stop," Ms. Mastoris said. "He never would have quit."
   She said that even after the first stroke, Nicholas kept his "bright mind."
   "He had a good four years."
   Ms. Mastoris said that her husband loved to sit in the sunroom of their Orchard Avenue home and watch the birds. Numerous feeders still surround the home, feeding more squirrels than sparrows this time of year.
   "He loved the outdoors," she said. "He loved gardening. He loved birds. He loved all of the animals."
   Since her husband’s passing, Ms. Mastoris said that the outpouring of support has been "amazing." She estimated that more than 500 people attended Monday’s funeral at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, in Hamilton, where Mr. Mastoris was a member of the board of trustees.
   "We have many friends. He was a people-person. We have been getting an enormous amount of mail. There have been calls from customers, friends, and neighbors. I can’t say enough. I am very grateful," Ms. Mastoris said.
   Mastoris Diner Restaurant is now in the hands of Mr. Mastoris’ sons, Alexander and James. Their third son, Michael, a Hightstown chiropractor, also helps out.
   "I still help out, mostly in the office," Ms. Mastoris said. "I may do more now that I have more time. I’m not going to just sit around."
   The family is asking that anyone wishing to honor Mr. Mastoris do so by making a contribution in Mr. Mastoris’ memory, to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 1200 Klockner Road, Hamilton, N.J. 08619.