Quarrier Diner gets back to its diner roots
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For Anna Pollitt, the Quarrier Diner is back to living up to the name emblazoned on the building.
"We're a diner. We are now a diner," Pollitt said.
She was referring to the new and simplified diner-esque menu visitors will now find when they visit the establishment at 1022 Quarrier St., heavy on such basics as hamburgers, cheeseburgers, BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, BLT and a hot bologna sandwich.
Pollitt ticked off new menu items she had a hand in making.
"I made the pinto beans, I made the chili, I made the chili for the hot dogs. I made the peanut butter cake. It's my recipe for the potato salad, the chicken salad, the tuna salad, the egg salad. I mean, all these things are the way I want it done, not the way some chef wanted it done with a lot of extra frills."
The historic diner has had its ups and down since Pollitt and her husband, David, reopened the landmark in 2011. The Pollitts bought the dilapidated restaurant in September 2010 at the urging of their son, Tim, after it was named to the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's Most Endangered Properties.
"He told us that if we would purchase a restaurant, he would make it work," Pollitt previously told the Gazette.
They began renovations in January 2011 to restore the art nouveau building, which was built in 1946. The family earned the "Most Significant Save of an Endangered Site" from the Preservation Alliance for their work in restoring the diner.
But in the midst of construction, Tim Pollitt died from a head injury sustained after falling down the stairs at home on Easter Sunday.
The family proceeded with plans to reopen with an ambitious bistro menu, which never really took hold, Pollitt said.
"They might have known how to do it in a hotel or big restaurant. But that's not this. We're a diner. That's what everyone was expecting -- diner food. We had, you know, bistro food. So it was not accepted. It was too pricy."
The family closed the diner at the end of March, while Timothy's remained open. Now, the diner is back with its seriously diner focus and only-open-for-lunch schedule.
Prices now hover at $5 and $6 for most sandwiches with the most expensive item being a $6.55 Chef's Salad and $6.96 Three Salad Plate with a scoop of chicken, tuna and egg salad on lettuce. A school lunch "Grab and Go" offers a $5 hot dog, chips and bottle drink lunch for area schoolchildren with various side options.
She is also working on a revised menu for Timothy's, the bar in the basement of the building. The Quarrier Diner also now features a new large deck alongside the building (on the big parking lot side) and a fenced-in outdoor dining space out front on city property,
"So, now everything comes together at one time. The biggest deck in town -- we can have 80 people on it at a time."
People also may not realize the third-floor of the diner has a fully equipped banquet room. "This is another thing people don't realize -- we seat up to 60 people up here in this banquet room -- class reunions, birthday parties, bus tours.
"That's part of the problem: the upper level and lower level are so invisible from the public that they don't realize they're here."
Quarrier Diner is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 304-343-5686 or visit quarrierdiner.com. Timothy's is open 4:30 until midnight Monday through Friday and noon until midnight Saturday. Visit timothysbarwv.com. The diner is also now taking reservations for holiday parties in its banquet room.
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-3017.