PHOTOS: Brooklyn-based mob drama films at iconic, now-shuttered Vegas Diner

Less than one week after its cameras rolled inside the parking lot of Our Lady of Grace Parish, the Brooklyn-based mob drama “The Neighborhood” continued its spree of borough-specific shoots from inside the iconic, now-shuttered Vegas Diner on Thursday evening, June 29, just days after its closure.

The show – which centers around Brooklyn in the ’80s – has been seen filming throughout the ‘hoods actor Will DeMeo grew up, in such spots as Night Life Café and La Trattoria Italiana in Sheepshead Bay, Lenny’s Pizza in Bensonhurst, Nick’s Fine Jewelry, Café La Notte, Paradise Catering Hall and Peter C. Labella Funeral Home in Gravesend, Romanoff Restaurant in Coney Island and Benson Scrap Metal in Gowanus.

The Vegas Diner, which stands at the corner of 86th Street and 16th Avenue, closed for good on Monday, June 26, leaving behind a legacy that stretches back to its inception in 1982.

“It means so much to me to be able to film inside the Vegas Diner,” said DeMeo, who doubles as the series’ lead and director. “It’s so devastating to me that the diner is closing, since I spent so much time there through the years, and to be able to shoot there is unbelievable.

“We could never get a location like that, a diner that still looks like it can be in the ’80s that is so much a part of Brooklyn,” the star went on, calling the establishment’s longtime owner, Frank Mavromichalis a “good friend” and “a good guy.” “We were luckily able to capture that on screen. To have all the vintage cars in the parking lot, you feel like you’re in the ’80s.”

In “The Neighborhood,” DeMeo will star as Brooklyn mob soldier Benny Zerletta. Zerletta, he explained, is forced to choose between fulfilling his mother’s dying wish and a responsibility forced upon him as a made man of a powerful crime family.

His co-stars include such names as James Russo, Louis Lombardi, Paul Ben-Victor, Leo Rossi, AJ Benza, Nick Turturro, Ken Lerner, Christina DeRosa and “Mob Wives” star Natalie Guercio as well as fellow Brooklynites Joe D’Onofrio and Patrick Borriello and local boxing legend Paulie Mallagani.

To boot, neighborhood residents and their kids have been cast as extras for the series, such as aide to State Senator Diane Savino Olga Fiore, who starred as an extra last Friday night, when DeMeo and his crew shot an old-school Brooklyn feast-inspired scene at OLG. At the Vegas, Fiore’s niece Julia Gagliano, teased her hair and tried her hand as an extra.

“It’s been going great,” DeMeo told this paper following last week’s shoot. “We’re really showing Brooklyn in the ’80s in a very big way – how tough it was, the big poufy hair, the pinkie rings, the music, the cars. It’s all Brooklyn.”

The series is currently shooting scenes for its first two episodes, with the remainder of filming slated for early next year and airtime as early as 2017, according to DeMeo who added that he and the show’s executive producer Sandy Robbins are already “ecstatic” with how the series is shaping up.

As for the Vegas, the 24-hour eatery joins an ever-growing list of South Brooklyn restaurants that have closed their doors in recent years, including Rocco’s Calamari, the Del’rio Diner and the Americana Diner.

“I think it’s an amazing sendoff to get the Vegas in the show and to have people see its legacy on screen,” said DeMeo.

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