The highly anticipated re-opening of The Diamond Restaurant is happening right now! Dan and I both happened to be off work today so we were glad that we could go. We tried to miss the crowd by having lunch around 4:00. We were lucky to walk right in and get the only open booth, but as we were leaving we could see that the dinner rush was starting.
One of the owners, Jimmy King, worked the bar, and we saw that another of the owners, Andy Kastanas, was working in the kitchen. Our food had just arrived when we witnessed the joyful delivery of the restaurant's liquor license by Ms. Rowe (wife of owner Brian Rowe)...welcomed with applause from the late-afternoon diners! Dan got Fried Chicken with Mac n' Cheese and I got Fried Jumbo Calabash Shrimp with hushpuppies and slaw. We finished it off with some delicious Baklava. MMMmmm good! See the menu here.
It was inspiring to see how a bunch of faithful customers made all the difference in the world for these local business owners. Customers spanned the generations and it was evident that many were long-time faithful Diamond patrons. Others were people who had followed the new management over from The (old) Penguin. There was a jovial feeling of community in the air.
See today's WBTV3 video & news coverage of The Diamond opening.
Recognize these guys? The beloved jukebox and Clydesdale horses from The Penguin.
If you'd like to read about why this opening is such a big deal in Charlotte, take a look at the links I've compiled:
Save the Penguin
A summary in The Charlotte Observer
See the story as it unfolded on Helen Schwab:
Penguin to be gone?
It Aint Over
Pinky's is back & Dust Settles
The Diamond Recent History:
The Diamond Restaurant Closing 4/30/10
Meet the new Diamond owners
Anticipating the Re-opening (SM blog post).
Please support former Penguin owner Greg Auten's new restaurant Pinky's Westside Grill. I'll post from there soon!