Blue Plate Diner, long a key member of the 104 Street culinary community, is moving. Co-owner John Williams will only say that the new location is “central,” and that fans of the diner’s comforting, tasty and affordable menu will have a new destination by mid-July.
“We’re excited, nervous,” says Williams, who is leaving the current location at 10145 104 St. at the end of June.
Williams, who has run the business with Rima Devitt for the last 15 years, knew he had to move because the landlord is tearing down the building to build the proposed 34-storey Mackenzie Tower. But finding a new location wasn’t as easy as Williams had hoped. He’s narrowed the choices down to two, and expects to ink a deal within the next few days.
Before Devitt and Williams had the 75-seat Blue Plate Diner, they spent eight years as owners of Zenari’s on 1st — a small Italian restaurant located in what is now the Bistro Praha. The partners, who were once married, raised their two sons, now 16 and 18, in the restaurant. Both young men work there on a part-time basis.
So while leaving the location is emotionally hard — there are a lot of memories within those walls — Williams welcomes a change.
“It’s a fresh start. Sometimes it takes a decision like this, to leave the street, to re-fire your brain,” says Williams.
Devitt and Williams have come up with a new logo to reflect the change. But they are keeping the existing menu for now, and will analyze what the customers in the new area want before making any changes.
Leaving 104 Street is “bittersweet,” says Williams. They love the area, but note that it’s shifted perspectives since they first arrived.
“It’s very downtown. I love it, as a customer. But as a business owner, our style of place is more rustic and has its own comfortable charm,” he says. “We think it’s time for a rebirth.”
Staff from the restaurant will be moving with Blue Plate, helping with minor renovations and packing boxes. Watch the Blue Plate’s feeds on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for details on the new location, to be announced soon.
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