BRIDGETON — Burgers, hash and pies may be served up again at Angie’s Bridgeton Grill.
Or, maybe another blue-plate special never hits its counter.
The city wants someone to take over the diner, which has been closed since its financially struggling owners set it on fire to get insurance money in 2012.
The diner is listed on state and national registers of historic places.
Some City Council members believe that means it should remain a diner. The panel has taken no action to seek proposals for its use.
City Planning and Development Director Kevin Rabago said regulations linked to the diner’s historic designation refer to its structure, not use.
“In the case of Angie’s, it could be a diner again, but it does not have to be a diner,” Rabago said. “It could be repurposed.
“Having said that, however, if it’s going to be physically restored, the physical restoration would be governed by the historic preservation rules,” he said.
Request-for-proposals legislation is still being discussed.
Rabago said he hopes the city, which now owns the site, can “cast the net sort of widely” and see what kind of proposals it gets.
“Some people have some creative ideas,” he said. “I’m hopeful.”
Angie’s Bridgeton Grill is one of about 1,500 Silk City Diners built by a company based in Paterson, Passaic County, from 1929 to 1966. Angie’s was built in 1939.
The long, narrow diner was modified over the years but remained a downtown dining staple for decades.
Longtime owner Angelina Perry sold the diner to Cedarville, Lawrence Township, residents Andrew and Brenda Webster early in 2012.
The Websters, who pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit arson, experienced several months of poor financial performance before the couple decided to burn the diner, authorities said.
They piled up newspapers, menus and other materials in the early morning Oct. 24, 2012, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire, authorities said.
Brenda Webster was burned when the gasoline vapors inside the diner ignited, authorities said.
Andrew Webster was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Brenda Webster was sentenced to three years’ probation, including six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring.
The Websters were required to pay more than $36,000 in restitution to the insurer.