Family is a big deal at The Diner, the newest restaurant in Manitouwadge. An enthusiastic staff of extended family and friends all work together to bring the community fresh, home-style meals.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Shelley Hogan and her daughter, Julia, neither of whom worked in a restaurant before. They had been working together at the local convenience store for six years, but wanted to start a business of their own. They’d put in a bid to run the town’s golf course cafeteria earlier in the year, but their proposal didn’t line up with the vision the township’s organizers were looking for. That didn’t derail the dream, however, and when the downtown restaurant became available for lease, they jumped on it. Together with Shelley’s sister, Nickie, and a host of other kin, they pulled together to open The Diner on Nov. 5, a mere three weeks from the time of signing the lease.
The Diner, formerly Savoies restaurant, is located in the village centre, and has a seating capacity of 48, but also offers take-out service. They offer a variety of snacks and meals, ranging from a standard breakfast of bacon and eggs, to the more adventurous loaded poutines or omelets. You can choose from a variety of homemade dips, including dill pickle, buffalo chicken or a warm ‘crack’ dip, served with tortilla chips.
Shelley and her crew want to take things slow for now.
“We’re keeping our menu simple to start with. Fresh food like sandwiches, wraps, and homemade soups, hand-cut fries. That sort of thing. Once we get comfortable, we’ll start exploring new ideas. We’re hoping to bring in a breakfast buffet and poutine bar soon, and we’re toying with the idea of a Chinese food menu. There are other plans, too, but shhh! They’re a secret!”
Another idea they’re hoping to start up soon is Family Night. There will be family-style meals, kid friendly shows on the TV, highchairs for the little ones and more.
In the meantime, folks can enjoy the many delicious menu items and specials. The most popular item, by far, is the fresh, home-made hamburgers. You can order any of the five beef burgers or two chicken burgers from the regular menu, or build your own. Choose any five ingredients from a list containing over a dozen add-ons, such as bacon, cheese, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, grilled mushrooms, and more. Add a side of soup, salad, or fresh, hand-cut fries, and you’ve got a delicious, filling lunch for only $14.99.
The family team works together to create daily specials, such as loaded potato and bacon soup, pumpkin pie pancakes or dill pickle pasta.
Manitouwadge resident Linda Thomsen ordered a turkey club with a baby-size order of fries and her husband, Rick, enjoyed a corned beef on rye.
“They are super-delicious fries, cooked in good oil,” says Linda. “The bread is thick and the servings are generous. You get really good value here.”
You can preview their menu on their Facebook page, then visit The Diner from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., but come prepared to wait for a few minutes to be seated. There have been lineups, especially during the busy breakfast hours. If the reviews are even close to being true, then it will be well worth the wait!