Back in March, Dino's Soda Bar, the Washington Park ice cream parlor at 2217 East Mississippi, was shuttered for non-payment of taxes, a move that shattered the lives of god knows how many children. But according to Jeff Estey, who owns Dino's, along with Washington Park Grille and Max Gill & Grill, it's all good in the 'hood.
That's because Estey is opening the Local Daylight Diner in the former Dino's space, and according to him, not a whole lot is going to change. "Everyone in the neighborhood wanted us to pretty much leave things the same, so we're still going to be that place where families can stroll in and have ice cream and cheap eats," promises Estey.
As for the name, Estey explains that the new diner isn't exactly a destination draw, but a neighborhood joint for people who can lumber out of bed, slip on their flip flops and walk or bike up the street. "It's not like we have a lot of people coming down here from Highlands Ranch, and we just sort of felt like this a place that should be really geared toward locals." Estey, says, too, that the name represents much of the menu. "We're using as many locally-sourced products as possible, including Pablo's Coffee and Colorado beef for our burgers." The hot dog and veggie dog are also locally made, says Estey, who adds that the ice cream that contributed to Dino's popularity will also remain on the board; the nostalgic soda counter will stay, too.
"We're trying to keep it as retro as possible -- to keep that great diner feel," notes Estey. What may change, he says, is the absence of a liquor license. "We'd like to get a liquor license down the line, because, you know, people like to have a Bloody Mary with their breakfast or to cure a hangover."
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In the meantime, Estey is aiming to open at the end of next week with a full breakfast and lunch menu that includes build-your-own breakfast tacos, pancakes, waffles, burgers, dogs, salads, sandwiches, wraps and breakfast burritos, including the handheld "El Rapido" burrito, which you can sample this weekend during the South Gaylord Street Memorial Day Festival.