NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It is a piece of nostalgia along Warwick Boulevard in Newport News.
"The Blue Star is one of maybe five classic diners from the time period in the state of Virginia. It is a unique property," said owner Michael Lessin.
It is a blast from the past that's been there since 1958 - a pre-fabricated building that was built in New Jersey, then moved to Woodstock, Va., then to Newport News.
"The diner represents a lost era, to a certain degree," said Lessin.
The diner was even made famous in the 1988 movie "Zelly and Me," staring Isabella Rossellini.
"Generations of people have eaten here with their families, and it's an important part of the community," said Lessin.
It was owned and operated by the Blentson family until it was locked up because the longtime owner passed.
Lessin bought the diner in 2010 with the intent to repair it and reopen it, and he got about 80% through when the pandemic shut things down. Then, he said there was the travel that became overbearing, since he resides primarily in Washington, D.C.
"We have done all the hard work on the property labor-wise. The most challenging was the roof replacement," he said.
The Blue Star is on the market with an asking price of $1.2 million. Lessin is looking for the perfect match to reopen this long lost way of life.
"You can sit at a diner counter, and you are expected to talk to a person even if you are a stranger," he said. "You just don't get that now with takeout and delivery."
Lessin won't sell to just anyone; developers need not apply.
"The challenge is it could be bought up by convenience store chains and gas stations. They want it because of the land," he said.
Since the early 2000s, Lessin has saved several diners along the East Coast from demolition, and he's hoping someone will come along and save this relic.
"We want to find a buyer that will finish it and reopen it as a diner," he said. "Serving home cooked style meals is something America is really losing."