Welcome Diner Welcomes Change

Change is afoot at Welcome Diner on Roosevelt downtown. The rumors started last week with this mysterious status update on the Roosevelt Row Facebook page:

"Eating lunch at Welcome Diner. Show them some love while you still can."

Phoenix foodies enamored with the blink-and-you'll-miss it space started freaking out, wondering whether Welcome Diner would become the latest recession casualty. Are they cutting their hours? Closing completely? Restaurant spokesman Sloane McFarland says not exactly.

"I am not confirming at this time whether the diner will discontinue its current hours of 11 - 3, Tuesday through Saturday, 1st and 3rd Fridays 5 - 10," says McFarland via e-mail. "Definitely on the edge. Just still plain figuring it out."

It turns out McFarland is working on some massive reinvention of Welcome Diner, turning the 200-square foot building and accompanying lawn into more of a private event space. 

"The diner's mission has always been to be a space of food, art and community," says McFarland. "We're digging in to realize that. We've talked with folks about gardening projects, canning projects, leasing commercial kitchen space, cooking classes, artist workshops, community meetings and, of course, chef/cook/food events."

McFarland says he's inspired in part by the success of the two recent Nobuo Fukuda Asian Street Food Nights, as well as the Twitter-fueled mobile restaurants gaining popularity in New York and Los Angeles. McFarland says Welcome Diner will soon join the Twittersphere. 

"It is inspiring to me to think of throwing out there, in the perfect moment of peach season, that 'Pies will be available at the Welcome Diner from 11 to Midnight today only!'" he says. "I would like to keep a strain of continuity with customers and their expectations but I also want to challenge the Diner and its own expectations which, it is my hope, will bring value to our customers and the community."

This all sounds fun and fascinating, and we hope it works out. Welcome Diner is too cute to close. 

Welcome Diner
924 E. Roosevelt St.

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