Duchess Diner is a Student Favorite


A campus favorite – West Haven Duchess Diner – has not always been run by the smiling Michail Tsoukatos. The building has stood at 706 Campbell Avenue since the 50s and was originally Mike’s Duchess Diner, then Liberty Duchess Diner, and now the beloved West Haven Duchess Diner.

Tsoukatos’ father-in-law bought the place 50 years ago and renovated it in the early 90s. The unassuming classic diner style, with the comfy burgundy booths and delectable dessert options in the glass case by the register, gives Duchess the homey feeling you need after a long night.

Maria Toussas, the owner’s wife, now runs the diner with help from son-in-law, Tsoukatos. He came to Connecticut ten years ago from the island of Poros in Greece which is about an hour from Athens by speedboat, he said.

On the island he worked for a television station as a sound engineer. Since coming to West Haven, he has been working full time as the manager of Duchess which has given him more responsibility and hours. He said he typically works seven days a week.

“But I came here and I love the job here,” Tsoukatos said. “After ten years, I’m used to it.”

The diner is a five minute drive from campus, and the clientele is mostly younger.

“It’s a different energy, it gives a different vibe to the place, big parties come after games and stuff,” Tsoukatos said.

That’s why, he said, they offer the 10 percent off promotions to New Haven students.

Not only do they offer discounts for students, Tsoukatos changed the menu up three years ago to give students more options. A big favorite among the student clientele that they names after our mascot is The Charger Burger: a mouthwatering grilled cheese and jalapeno covered burger that is the best way to start off the weekends.

Tsoukatos said they appreciate the student’s business and being the favorite diner. In a couple of weeks they, he said he will add new items to the menu to give students even more options to choose from. And if the chocolate chip waffles and the disco fries aren’t enough, Tsoukatos will be adding some appetizers like tater tots, Philly cheese steaks, and egg rolls (just to name a few).

“It’s my favorite diner in town! I try to get there as much as I can because their breakfast is the best,” Lexis Peterson said. She is a senior and has loved going to Duchess Diner on weekend mornings since her freshman year.

The family has no plans to expand, but – good news for their loyal clientele – they aren’t going anywhere. Anytime you need the best omelette in town or the juiciest burger, Duchess Diner will be there with an open door and a smile.