By Stephanie Malench
The long awaited arrival of The Marine Diner is here. The diner is scheduled to open in the former Millie’s Diner location on Route 143 (302 West Division St.) around October 15.
Owners Chris and Carmen Loemker decided to try their hand at opening a restaurant as a labor of love to give back to the community after the former diner closed, leaving the village without a restaurant and many local young people without a job.
Unlike Millie’s, The Marine Diner will be open seven days a week year-round from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closing only for major holidays. The diner is completely renovated with a brand new kitchen that contains a state of the art pizza oven that will cook a pie in one minute 35 seconds. Pizza will be thin crust and served in the traditional ways, from cheese only to supreme.
The dining rooms are decorated with framed pictures blown up from the archives at the Marine Historical Society that tell the story of the history of Marine. Loemker said he hopes to have a member of the historical society make plaques for underneath the pictures that describe them.
The middle room has counter seating, one row facing the window the other row away but with USB phone chargers. WiFi is available throughout.
The Marine Diner’s menu structure is similar to Millie’s, centering on quick and affordable food with a new focus on fresh, not frozen meat for the burgers and fresh salads. Prices will be comparable to Millie’s, taking into account inflation since the restaurant closed for good in October of 2019.
Several special items are on the menu. The Hoss Burger is made with three 1/3 pound hand-smashed burger patties on a Kaiser bun. Diners who successfully eat the Ultimate Hoss Burger (which is topped with six strips of bacon and six slices of cheese) with fries and a drink will have their picture placed on the wall.
Lemon shake-ups like found at carnivals will be available, made with fresh lemon halves, sugar and water. A special C-4 ice cream cone, named after the C-4 airplane (Loemker is a full time commercial airplane pilot) is made by filling an ice cream cone with melted caramel and dipped in chocolate hard shell before adding ice cream covered in nuts.
The special menu items are a way to help Leomker create “a fun, family atmosphere. We have trained a great group of people- managers, cooks, and servers.”
Traditional and e-gift cards will be available, as well as a customer loyalty program. Orders can be placed online for curbside pick-up. Loemker eventually wants to do delivery, but does not currently have plans.
This past weekend, The Marine Diner gave away 250 ice cream cones and dishes of ice cream from 3-4 pm. On Saturday and Sunday to train the employees on how to use the registers. The restaurant is fortunate to have four of the former diner employees returning to work. Loemker said “the community has been very supportive of us and we appreciate it.”