Welcome Diner, the Garfield hangout where you've probably chomped into a fried chicken sandwich or sipped a cocktail made with date-infused Arizona whiskey, is making a local move. The diner closed last night. It will be reopening a few blocks away on Monday, May 21.
"Welcome Diner has so far been unable to strike an extension of our current lease agreement with Mr. and Mrs. Young, our landlords, who we credit with originally bringing the diner to Garfield in the 1980’s," the restaurant wrote last night on Facebook. "If we are unable to do so we will no longer occupy our original Roosevelt location and will fully move operations to 929 East Pierce, at the southwest corner of Garfield’s “4 Corners.'"
The red-and-white diner is a neighborhood icon. In a yard with motley furniture and under string lights, folks eat and drink and kick it, often deep into the night. In recent years, the diner has been operated by Michael Babcock and Jenn Robinson. The menu has been Southern — biscuits and fried tomato sandwiches, the food made using top local purveyors like McClendon's Select, The Meat Shop, and Hayden Flour Mill.
The present diner has nine seats. The new location will have a capacity of more than 80 people.
"Basically, we took the diner's blueprints and just made it bigger," Babcock says. "There's a big patio, an indoor kitchen, a wraparound bar, some booths."
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The new digs stand across Pierce Street from Gallo Blanco. Welcome signage has been up on the location for at least the past few weeks. The diner will be open Mondays now. Brunch will be making a return.
"We are doing a few food and beverage changes as well," Babcock says. "We'll be keeping some of the classics, and we'll also be diving deeper into territory with the food and drinks."
Even if Babcock and Robinson manage to extend the lease on their old spot, they still "will most likely power it down for a bit." The new location will be, for the foreseeable future, the place to knock back loaded biscuits and cocktails made with date-infused Arizona whiskey.
Welcome Diner. 929 East Pierce Street.
Daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
*Opens May 21.