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BizBeat: Diner’s owners excited to start rebuilding

After nearly four months, Oscar’s Classic Diner is set to begin rebuilding the restaurant that was destroyed by fire in late January.

Owners Kurt and Lisa Mankin are excited to continue the process of renovation, while also adding a new space to the 2118 Schotthill Woods Road location.

The Mankins are preparing to add a 1,200-square-foot banquet room, as well as an additional parking lot to the rear of the property. The addition will be used to accommodate large groups, and can be partitioned off for private smaller groups.

“We’ll be offering fried chicken, country ham, real mashed potatoes and all of the trimmings served family style in the banquet facility, in addition to our catering menu,” the owners noted.

Although the fire was contained to the prep kitchen area, the amount of smoke damage will require the entire square footage of the restaurant to be gutted. The diner owners have been awaiting the replacement steel beams before moving forward with the renovations. Many functional improvements will be made possible by the renovations, including an entry vestibule with an air lock set of second doors. There will also be added air conditioning systems for the kitchen. Both changes will help keep comfortable temperatures for customers and staff.

Structural changes aside, the Mankins are excited to bring back some of the memorabilia and historic pictures that previously filled their walls. The couple has been able to reproduce many of the items and even add more through research. The ‘50s salon chair which sat in the lady’s restroom will be rebuilt, along with other nostalgic items. “Howdy Doody will be on probation, however, as some people feel he causes mischief,” the owners said.

“It feels like we can only measure our progress in inches right now. The process is fraught with unexpected obstacles and unavoidable delays,” the Mankins noted.

The restaurant owners said although they would love to open tomorrow, the project is not expected to be complete until late August, early September.

“Our customers can expect to come to our newly rebuilt diner and order their favorite menu items ... we are also excited to be working on new diabetic and heart-friendly entrees as well as gluten-free options.”

Oscars has been fortunate that the majority of its staff has stuck with it through the transition. “Many have been at Oscar’s from the beginning, and that’s a key part of our success.”

Watch the Oscar’s Facebook page and website for updates on the progress, as well as information on its reopening.

Know of any business happenings around town? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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