Business

Former Park Avenue Diner gets new life

Above, Kitsap Transit employees enjoy a meal at The Coffee Club Diner in Bremerton May 28. The restaurant is the former Park Avenue Diner. Left, A 1955 Chevy Bel-Air sits in front of the diner. The eatery mirrors the 1950s with its menu, music and ambiance. - Kassie Korich/staff photo
Above, Kitsap Transit employees enjoy a meal at The Coffee Club Diner in Bremerton May 28. The restaurant is the former Park Avenue Diner. Left, A 1955 Chevy Bel-Air sits in front of the diner. The eatery mirrors the 1950s with its menu, music and ambiance.
— image credit: Kassie Korich/staff photo

The Coffee Club Diner serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Elvis Presley tunes and the smell of fresh grilled burgers have awakened what used to be the Park Avenue Diner in downtown Bremerton.

The new Coffee Club Diner opened in its place May 16 at 417 Park Ave. in true throwback fashion to the heyday of the 1950s.

Cheryl Mathis, together with her family and friends, spent more than three months refurbishing the building from top to bottom.

“All of the customers can’t believe their eyes and how far it’s come,” said Tiffany Mathis, Cheryl’s daughter and manager of the diner. “Every new customer who comes in, they’re so excited there’s a diner here again.”

With 20 bar-top stools and a full dining area with booths, The Coffee Club Diner welcomes families and large groups as well as the busy businessman or woman on their lunch break.

A group of Kitsap Transit employees stopped in for lunch May 28, looking to check out the new eatery.

“The chicken-fried steak gets a thumbs up,” said Steve Sisk.

“It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s clean and we like the free parking,” said Eoton Levingston.

“We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Cheryl said. “Many people don’t realize we’re open until 8 p.m.”

The diner’s menu includes a variety of choices ranging from the classic omelette and bacon cheeseburger to hot melts and chicken-fried steak.

“Our Monte Cristo and homemade onion rings are a big hit,” Tiffany said. “Everyone loves them.”

In true “The Great Outdoors” fashion, the diner offers a “Goliath” challenge for the hungriest and bravest of eaters. The Goliath Burger weighs in at 5 pounds and comes with a 5-pound side of fries for $25. The customer who can finish the meal completely in one hour will receive it for free, have their picture placed on the diner’s “Wall of Fame” and Minder Meats will provide a $25 gift certificate to be used at its establishment.

“We’re waiting to see if someone has what it takes to face the Goliath,” Tiffany said.

For those with a sweet tooth, The Coffee Club also features hand-dipped milkshakes, banana splits and soda floats. The new diner also offers a full espresso bar featuring Batdorf Bronson coffee.

Many customers remember when the building, which is more than 50 years old, was home to Ted’s Lunch and, later, the Park Avenue Diner.

“People say, ‘I would come here when I was a kid’ or ‘I used to work at the shipyard in the ‘50s and come here for lunch,’” Cheryl said. “There’s a lot of history here.”

Cheryl was originally looking to open just an espresso shop, but then the former Park Avenue Diner building caught her eye.

“I drove by and saw this place for rent,” she said. “The Coffee Club was going to be the name just for the espresso business. A group of friends and I used to get together and we called ourselves The Coffee Club; we’d spend hours together visiting over coffee.”

Cheryl wanted to extend that same feeling of unity to the community. Seeing the opportunity and envisioning what the place could become, Cheryl tacked on ‘diner’ to the name.

“It really was an effort on the part of our family and friends to open this diner,” she said, looking around the bar-top dining area. “Without our landlord Jim Kitner, Robert from Ram Construction, Jeff from Eagle Plumbing and Keith from Westsound Electric, this would not have been made possible.

“I have to thank my friends and family who contributed everything from money to countless hours of hard work.”

Cheryl as well as the rest of the staff pride themselves on being able to serve big portions of food at reasonable prices.

“Our standard hamburger is a half-pound and we serve up bottomless hand-cut fries,” she explained.

For those looking to watch the latest in sports action, the diner features a big screen television above the bar-top. They are currently applying for their liquor license and will soon be serving beer and wine.

Customers can take advantage of meal punch cards, which can earn them free drinks and food. The diner also offers free delivery of all of its menu items, something Tiffany says is not common at many restaurants.

“We are striving to provide top-notch service,” she said. “We really want this to be the best place in town.”

To make a delivery order, call (360) 627-8147. For more information about The Coffee Club Diner, visit its Web site at www.thecoffeeclubdiner.com.

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