The Diner at Skookum Inn opened less than a month ago, but manager Emily Blackmore said business is already booming.
“It’s been busy every day,” she said.
The venue has had 12 different owners in the past 20 years, but Ms. Blackmore expects the new diner to outlast the others.
“It’s been all sorts of different restaurants but when it was successful it was a diner and we’ve chosen to go back to the diner to make sure that it’s successful again,” she said.
A returned local, Ms. Blackmore has waitressed and managed restaurants around the world from Australia to Thailand to Guatemala and Mexico before coming back to the Valley to be closer to her family.
She said the diner’s new owner, Mark Skinner, had a couple of restaurants in his past and that their combined experience meant they were well prepared for the task at hand.
“We’re really trying to focus our pointer on the locals and that’s why we’re starting in the wintertime,” she said. “We’re full of locals every day. We want them to know that they can feel comfortable coming here for breakfast, lunch and on break.”
She envisions the diner becoming a hub for residents and the staff that keep the Valley running and said focusing on customers who are staying for the long term is a strategic choice.
“They’re going to be the ones that keep us alive through the winter. We want them to have a local spot to go to. I’m local, my dad’s local, and we used to love coming here,” she said.
Guests can expect “good food, big portions and friendly service” at the diner which is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
The restaurant serves classic diner food like eggs Benedict, pancakes, waffles and club sandwiches but with a twist: the meals are made from scratch and with local products where possible.
Even as a vegan, Ms. Blackmore has plenty to choose from off the menu. Anything can be made vegan or vegetarian, and there are gluten-free options as well.
Her current favourite dish is billed as Mark’s Favourite. It’s zucchini noodles and vegetables in a rich cashew sauce.
“We’re open and we’re excited. We want people to come see us,” she said. “We’re confident that we’re going to be successful and we appreciate everybody’s support.”