MERIDEN — A classic diner on West Main Street is getting ready to re-open for breakfast and lunch.
Samir Hassan, a Meriden native, will operate the 71-year-old eatery which has gone by the names Justin Time and Cassidies Diner and will now be called Landmark Diner. It is expected to open next month.
“I’m kind of excited and nervous at the same time,” Hassan said. “The whole place was redone...It was redone as much as possible to keep the history and the aesthetics. It’s a landmark and that’s what we’re going to call it.”
Hassan, who studied architecture and design, is a longtime fan of a diner he passed by as a child and young adult living in the city. His father owned a restaurant in New Britain.
“It brought the best of both worlds,” he said. “It tied into architecture and design and with what I learned from the family business.”
Hassan will work with a cook, his mother, a cousin and one other employee to serve traditional breakfast and lunch and Mediterranean and Hispanic dishes. He believes there is enough activity at the courthouse, police station and state offices on West Main Street to sustain his business and other nearby eateries.
“It’s good to have competition,” he said.
Henry Le bought the classic metal diner at 82 W. Main St. in 2018 along with the former Middlesex Community College campus at 55 W. Main St. After getting all the health and safety permits in place, Hassan is now working with the Midstate Chamber of Commerce and other business advocacy groups on marketing.
“Mr. Le has done a lot of work to restore the diner and it will be a fun throwback to earlier times,” Making Meriden Business Center Director David Cooley said in an e-mail. “I think folks will make it a destination — the more dining options we have in the city the better from my perspective.”
The Landmark Diner opening is only part of some recent business activity downtown. The Downtown Coffee Shop, 33 W. Main St., is installing a range hood to add a grill and fried foods to the menu. It hopes to introduce evening hours and an expanded menu by Oct.1, said owner Tina Dalipovski.
Across the Meriden Green on State Street, the NYC Deli & Krispy Krunchy Chicken is expected to have a ribbon cutting soon, Cooley said.
“We are very excited to welcome the new owner to our beautiful downtown,” said City Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “Filling our empty spaces with more dining options is a key ingredient in keeping the downtown successful. Having a variety of eating options attracts more people walking around the downtown and green and shows how far we have come.”