By Bradley Zint
9:18 PM PST, February 19, 2013
A Denny's location that for decades was known as a popular hangout and late-night destination near downtown Costa Mesa has served its last plate of Moons over My Hammy.
After serving hungry customers for more than 20 years, the restaurant at East 17th Street and Newport Boulevard closed Jan. 31.
The owners chose not to renew their lease at the current market rates, said Peter Desforges, president of Wohl Investment Co., the Newport Beach-based owner and developer of the Newport 17th Plaza.
A Chase bank is slated to open at the site, 105 E. 17th St., in September, Desforges said.
A rope tied from the inside is keeping the front doors of the diner, formerly open 24 hours, securely shut.
All Denny's signage has been removed from nearly 5,000-square-foot building, which boasts a highly visible location at the edge of the plaza. The adjacent intersection is one of the busiest in the county, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority.
The plaza, which also houses the Meat House and a Growers Direct, is getting a complete rehab that includes new facades and landscaping that will help portray a more modern look, Desforges said.
The 17th Street Denny's is the second of the chain's restaurants to close in Costa Mesa in recent years. The Denny's in the Bristol Village shopping center, 290 Bristol St., closed in 2010 and has been replaced by a McDonald's.
The Denny's at 3170 Harbor Blvd., near the San Diego (405) Freeway, is still open. It is the remaining Costa Mesa location of the Spartanburg, S.C.-based restaurant chain.
Requests for comment from a Denny's spokeswoman were not returned on the Presidents Day holiday.
The diner was a popular destination for teens and 20-somethings in the 1980s and 1990s. It also had a following with older customers.