Quarrier Diner to reopen in September
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The restaurant at the iconic Quarrier Diner will reopen next month, owner Anna Pollitt said Tuesday, but for weekday lunches only and with a trimmed-down diner-style menu.
Pollitt closed the restaurant suddenly in late March, saying they couldn't afford to keep it open because of the lack of dinner customers. She and her husband, David, bought the historic Art Moderne building, which had been closed for years, in 2010 and invested heavily to restore it to its 1940s glory.
Although they kept the downstairs bar, Timothy's, open, they had no plans at the time to reopen the main-floor restaurant, Anna Pollitt said. She named the bar after her son, who was supposed to run it but died in an accident at home before it opened.
"We thought no chance," she said. "The picture was so bad at that time."
But as months passed, they reconsidered.
"Basically, I feel it's a waste being here empty," she said.
"The first go-round really wasn't how I intended. When you get other people involved, you end up getting other people's ideas. After my son's accident I was not a strong person. They kind of took the weight off of me. But even then they took things in directions that really weren't me. We ended up going bistro.
"If I'm going to fail, I want to do it on my own terms.
"It really got blown out of proportions. We had a total of 85 employees last year. I filled out 85 W-2 forms. The problem was servers. You get employees who don't stick around, so you spend all your time training or trying to train new employees.
"So basically we had to get rid of a lot of weight.
"We have a new strategy and consensus that we have to have diner food -- hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue -- and a less pricey menu. And I'm thinking of taking it a little farther and having some self-service -- salads and wraps and items that are pre-made that can be picked up and taken with them if they're in a rush.
"I see places like Panera Bread and Tudor's and Gino's that have menus that are fast but you don't have to have servers that are waiting and pouring drinks. That will streamline the service a whole lot."
The target reopening date is Sept. 16, Pollitt said.
"I have a few things to pull together before then." In particular, she's trying to get a private outdoor seating area licensed by the state liquor board.
"For the time being we'll be open from 11 [a.m.] to 2 [p.m.], Monday to Friday.
"I don't plan to have dinner hours, at least for now. Charleston pulls up its sidewalks after dark. I don't see that as a draw for dinner anyway, with hot dogs and hamburgers."
Reach Jim Balow at email@example.com or 304-348-5102.