Now that Timone’s Pizza, which opened in March, is operating smoothly, Morningside chef and restaurateur Ron Eyester is free to focus on his first venture outside of Morningside: a diner called Diner. Located in Atlantic Station in the space formerly home to FOX Sports Grill, 264 19th Street, Diner will take aspects of traditional diners and update them.
“There will be some traditional aesthetics, but not like what you’d see in EPCOT Center with a full 1950s throwback,” Eyester says. “It’ll look like one of our restaurants; Timone’s, the Family Dog, and Rosebud all have some similar elements.”
With a planned opening of late June or July, Diner will serve breakfast until 11 a.m. (it will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays). After 11, diners will be to order breakfast, lunch, or dinner until midnight—and 2 a.m. on weekends.
The menu will be a curated selection of traditional diner items with Eyester’s twist on them. The offerings may include "Disco" fries with Calabro mozzarella and brown gravy; grilled cheese with brie, slab bacon, and balsamic roasted onion; lamb burger with Vermont goat cheese; and seafood bisque. Entrees include flounder francaise, crispy chicken thighs, fried pork chops, and calves liver.
“If the menu gets too large, you won’t be able to make everything from scratch, and we want to avoid that,” he says, adding that he will be flexible and allow people to design their own omelets and such. Select breakfast items will carry over from Rosebud’s menu as well.
“My goal is to establish another entity that is a solid part of the community—a central hub where people want to hang out.”
Even though bar programs are not a huge component of the traditional diner, Diner will have a “fairly retro” martini list and some throwback cocktails, as well as drinks like fuzzy navels. Jeff Jackson, who oversees the bar at Rosebud, will partner with Eyester on the bar program at Diner. Expect a small wine list with domestics on draft and a conservative beer selection featuring both local names like SweetWater and Terrapin and national brands like Budweiser.
“We want this to be reminiscent of Harry’s on Wall Street,” Eyester says. “We want to capture the happy hour crowd.”
With 7,000 square feet including a fifty-five-seat patio, Diner will have plenty of space for all kinds of crowds. Eyester says the space is visible from the highway. The neon sign on the brushed copper exterior won’t hurt, either.
Inside, there will be a ten or eleven-seat counter, bar, dessert case, and a raised open kitchen visible from the entrance. Three tufted, upholstered booths will sit along the front window. Dining room tables are being built with stainless steel trim and formica sheets, like the diners of days past.
There will also be a small retail area where Eyester will sell Bloody Mary mix, house-made sauces, Georgia Olive Farms olive oil, Carolina Plantation rice and grits, pickles, and Emily G’s jams. “Almost like a pantry,” he says.
Although the restaurant will have its own baking room, and items like danishes, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls will be made in-house, other desserts will likely be sourced from Alpine Bakery.