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BizBeat: Downtown Diner closed for good

BizBeat: Downtown Diner closed for good

June 17th, 2018 by Philip Joens in Business

Owner John Biggs closed Downtown Diner at 127 E. High St. in Jefferson City on June 10.

Biggs bought Downtown Diner from former owner Rachel Gibson in March. In April, he cut the diner's space in half to build new restaurant Sweet Smoke BBQ in an adjoining space at 129 E. High St.

Biggs said he planned to close Downtown Diner once he used it to raise the capital needed to open Sweet Smoke BBQ. With the barbecue restaurant flourishing, Biggs said, it was time to close the diner.

"My intention never was to keep the diner," he said.

After taking ownership of Downtown Diner, Biggs ripped out the orange and green tiling and tables in both restaurant spaces. In the diner he installed blue and white tiling and commissioned a local artist to paint a a pop culture-themed mural. A bar now sits in the barbecue restaurant and classic signage hangs on walls of an interior adorned by red, brown and black colors.

During lunch rushes, Sweet Smoke BBQ patrons fill both spaces, Biggs said. He also plans to use the diner space as a space for catering and events.

After Sweet Smoke BBQ opened May 1, the restaurant and Downtown Diner were briefly open simultaneously from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. One kitchen serviced both restaurants. Biggs said that made operating both at the same time hard.

"The kitchen is super small," he said. "It was brutal."

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