Revolving Diner Doors
Side Dishes: The Oasis calls it quits; Parkway makes a comeback
There's nothing "over easy" about selling the family business. Unless you're second-generation Oasis Diner owners David and Jon Lines. After running the local eating institution for 10 of its 53 years, the brothers are no longer taking orders, short or tall. They sold the business — and the vintage diner that houses it — to bar owner/brewer Glenn Walter of Three Needs. Walter plans to turn the place into a Jewish deli along the lines of Swartz's in Montréal. "We've done pretty well with the diner," says David, who took over the place when his dad retired 10 years ago. "Stratty" was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who enjoyed a good debate, and the diner attracted news junkies and politicians, including locals Phil Hoff and Pat Leahy, and visiting celebs Walter Mondale and Bill Clinton. The Lines brothers maintained that tradition and others: The place was only open for breakfast and lunch and never took credit cards. "New energy, new life, new people will regenerate it," says David, who inherited his father's love of following current events. "My dad is very cool with it. He knows it's a good time for us to do something different." No fries with that.
When one diner door closes, another opens: The Parkway Diner, a South Burlington institution since 1955, is back in business after a change of ownership and six-month hiatus. The building itself is still owned by George Hatgen, who originally ran the diner, then leased it for 10 years to the Alvanos family, now owners of the Pine Street Deli. Hatgen's son Peter Hatgigiannis, a partner in the Maria Catherine restaurant group, has taken over the diner's operation.
According to Hatgigiannis, the Worcester diner car has been completely refurbished, from the booths to the newly handicapped-accessible bathrooms. As far as the food is concerned, he says to expect a "very simple, casual menu" featuring faves such as hot turkey sandwiches and lobster rolls prepared by a "chef from California." "We were heartbroken to hear the diner might not reopen," Hatgigiannis says of himself and his business partners. "I left the Ritz-Carlton for this." Seriously.