ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Newellstown Diner has big plans for this year including extending its hours of operation, installing a new ice cream window and holding summer activities.
Terra Butler, a councilwoman for the city and co-owner of the diner along with T.J. Stewart, said they held a meeting earlier this week to discuss upcoming plans for the diner.
“We’re really trying to plan for a year with more opportunity because last year was not it. They were very limited, even when I came into the picture. There’s only so much that was going on because of COVID,” she said.
Butler said the diner has high hopes as coronavirus mandates begin to loosen and vaccine availability is more prevalent. She said the diner plans to hold numerous cruise-up car shows throughout the summer months where classic cars will line Main Street.
The diner owners also hope to soon be able to extend its hours of operation. In order to do so, they must first find additional employees.
Butler took over partial ownership of the diner last year. Since its reopening in August, she said it has been a struggle to find employees — she suspects this is due to extended unemployment benefits and people not being ready to return to work because of risk of coronavirus inection. However, the diner recently hired two additional cooks, which has allowed for more steady hours of operation. Butler and Stewart are still looking to hire another cook to cover evening hours.
Butler said they will first extend hours a couple days per week to determine what the demand is. Once the diner is able to extend its evening hours, it plans to add items to its menu.
Butler said they are also hoping to begin installation of a new walk-up window on the left front face of the building where customers can order ice cream without coming inside the restaurant. As a part of the installation, sliding glass doors will replace the current window, along with the addition of a serving ledge.
She said the ice cream window seemed like a fun venture that residents could enjoy. She is hoping to have the new walk-up window installed by mid-May. In addition to the installation of the new slide-open window, they are also planning some minor interior improvements as well.
The diner recently introduced an assortment of sodas that feature custom diner labels. Butler said they worked with a soda company and designed two sets of 1950s-inspired labels.
“That was a fun thing for us to do. No one else around here has anything like that,” she said.
There are currently six flavors, with more in the works. Flavors include strawberry, root beer, diet root beer, blue raspberry, black cherry and wild apple.
Although it has been a struggle for many small businesses, Butler said they are looking forward to new things to come in the future.
“We are just happy to have made it through this. It was difficult, it was a struggle. For any small business right now, I think all of us are thankful to still have our businesses. We’re happy every day to be able to serve good food and to see everybody get back into what feels like a sense of normalcy and we just want to keep bringing in new ideas,” she said.
The diner is open for breakfast and lunch and offers daily lunch specials — every day features something different. It is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 145 W. Main St. Breakfast is available throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.
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