FOLLOWUP: What the Great American Diner and Bar proprietors are planning

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After the flyers went up on Sunday, announcing a new restaurant/bar for what was briefly Shelby’s at California/Edmunds, we only came up with a bit to report – but promised a followup.

And now we have it, after sitting down Wednesday evening with the proprietors of the coming-soon Great American Diner and Bar.

Meet Singh Biryah and Glen Quadros, partners in the new operation.

They have decades of experience in the restaurant/hospitality business and say they’re up for the challenge of the corner some call cursed. “We know what’s been happening, we’re taking it up as a challenge,” Glen declared.

They have worked together before but not been business partners before. Most recently, they told us, they worked together at the Yankee Grill in Renton. Glen had just finished his last day there as food and beverage director, before meeting us at their project-in-progress for this interview, he said. Singh had worked there as executive chef, and says he also worked at Spot in Renton.

When they started looking for somewhere to open together, Singh said, they heard about the West Seattle Junction spot from vendors. “We liked the place, liked the area,” he told us.

Glen says he managed restaurants back east as well as here, and also “worked for several years on luxury cruise liners,” including managing a Princess Cruises restaurant.

But enough about them. What will the Great American Diner and Bar be like?

“An upscale diner, traditional favorites with a slight twist, all fresh ingredients … we thought we’d stick to Singh’s strength, good, wholesome, hearty American food,” Glen began. “We want people to be happy.” He said he’s inspired by the holidays when specials bring in families for “huge sales,” Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving. They see families dining out as sort of a tradition, “Grandma used to cook (for the holiday) at home, can’t do it any more. I appreciate the fact they want to celebrate with us.”

So they’re thinking family-oriented until late at night, when the atmosphere would “be kind of converted to take care of younger adults … we want it to remain elegant, classy, not noisy.”

Since they are on a relatively tight timeline to open, they don’t expect major decor changes – but they mention some wood flooring in the back, possibly to facilitate some dancing on the weekends. Some changes are planned to the bar so that it will have two sides, identical, to speed up service. The mural on the north inside wall will go away; a big-screen TV will be put up, “for sports, kids’ cartoons,” and more, says Glen, depending on the daypart..

They’re planning to open for breakfast at 7 am, continuing until 3 on weekends, 11 on weekdays. There’ll be a special lunch menu, a dinner menu, a “really good happy-hour menu 2-6 pm and 9-close.” The menu overall will be “exciting,” they promise, with “a few ethnic dishes too … a lot of value for your money.” Weekends are likely to include a buffet brunch, Glen says. The menus aren’t ready to preview yet, but Singh is almost done planning them. “Good, fresh meals,” he promises. “I can do anything.” He says in the years he worked at Spot, he evolved the menu, slowly, to one focused on freshness. While “Tavern” was long part of that establishment’s name, he says, it’s known for its food.

Along with the food, they want to emphasize service. “We want the servers to pay attention, make eye contact, smile … it’s the worst feeling in the world, to be ignored. Acknowledge them,” Glen says.

So of course we had to ask, since it was also a factor in comments following our short story on Sunday: What’s the idea behind the name?

Glen said it was inspired by nostalgia, in a way – in the spirit it might evoke. He spoke of senior citizens, who “made this country what it is – we don’t appreciate them enough. I really respect people of a certain generation. They did great things for America, great things for the world – the technology that was created came from right here. It has changed the way we think, the way we live. I’ve visited more than 100 countries around the world and this is the best place in the world to live in. People are so welcoming – I’ve been to places like France and Germany where you might be considered an outsider, but here, you are integrated into the society.”

Though neither lives in West Seattle – Singh lives in Kent, Glen in Sammamish – they see West Seattle as a place where you can have an establishment “where everybody knows your name.” Glen adds, “That’s what we aim to do – build a relationship with everybody who comes in, get to know their kids, their grandkids, provide a service for the neighborhood. And give back to the community as much as we can.”

So how soon will they open? They’re working on figuring that out; before the end of the month, if the. They had just found out the liquor license will take a month and a half. But they might decide to open before they get it. Meantime, they are working on signage – there’s a banner up now covering part of the old signage – and online presence.

And Singh is continuing to set up the kitchen – which he invites us to come see, before we leave. They had some cleanup to do from previous tenants, he explains … but the grill, for one, is now shiny and spotless. The corner might have history, but for Singh and Glen, it’s a fresh start.

35 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What the Great American Diner and Bar proprietors are planning"

  • Gharp May 11, 2017 (5:10 pm)

    Best of luck to them, I’d love to see a business do well on that corner!

  • justme May 11, 2017 (5:29 pm)

    This sounds great! I’ll be telling all my senior citizen friends in the neighborhood!

  • West Seattle Hipster May 11, 2017 (5:42 pm)

    Lots of commenters on the previous story critical of the establishment name.  Wonder what they have to say now?

    • SMH May 11, 2017 (7:03 pm)

      Doesn’t change a thing for me. It still has an unfortunate connotation and just isn’t appealing. But I don’t go to restaurants because of the name — Olive and Vinegar (or whatever it is that’s opening down the street) is equally questionable. It all depends on food quality and ambiance.

    • Jethro Marx May 11, 2017 (9:39 pm)

      Well, these businessmen want to make something great, which I’ve heard before, but they seem to have a plan, which is new. I don’t have any experience running a restaurant, and I don’t have the inclination some seem to to throw out some inexpert advice, so I wish them luck! MADGA, I guess. MA/CJGA!

  • bestintentions May 11, 2017 (6:14 pm)

    As someone who has lived here in West Seattle for 25 years, I can name multiple establishments that have occupied that corner.  We can all be skeptical or encouraging, but the bottom line is that these folks certainly have a bunch of restauranteur experience and a willingness to try. You have to hand them THAT!  Let’s see what comes of it!

  • wsgal May 11, 2017 (6:17 pm)

    Wish them well! I like the words value, service & variety. Lord knows we need a gigantic restaurant to house all the families and very few breakfast joints opened at 7am for us early risers! 

  • Jeff May 11, 2017 (7:03 pm)

    Sounds Interesting 

    catering to families and the late night crowd

    healthy food  but also a buffet 

    Diner food as well as ethnic

    not noisy but also dancing 

    focusing on holidays as well as breakfast and happy hour 

    an upscale diner that is a nod to senior citizens

    a tv that will play sports but also cartoons 

    Seems like they are catering to everyone and yet no one 

    • Wsneighbor May 12, 2017 (5:55 pm)

      ROTFL, Jeff. Seriously. The juxtapositions, laid out like this, are a tragicomedy all their own. And they are not a good sign. But I wish the proprietors, and their big ideas, well.

      • Mike May 13, 2017 (9:14 am)

        weird, I thought they were the first to try something in that spot which actually can work and be profitable.  It’s probably hard for people that grew up in small families that didn’t have community oriented meal planning and events on a regular occasion to understand how this works.

  • Morgan May 11, 2017 (7:48 pm)

    Wouldn’t mind a breakfast spot open a bit earlier than 7AM on weekdays…I have to be on my way to work before I finished eating then. Also, I loved east coast diners where I grew up with breakfast all day and consistent food—service only needs to be fast. I’d be up for an alternative to Chelan Cafe…. Closer to home with longer and earlier hours please, if you could…with counter seats and not just booths and tables. There’s enough bars in my humble opinion.

  • NVJV May 11, 2017 (8:20 pm)

    This sounds amazing!  Can’t wait!!  

  • mitts May 11, 2017 (8:27 pm)

    Welcime to the neighborhood!  Excited for a new breakfast spot!  And I like the idea behind the name – I hope all the negativity from people on the last post doesn’t discourage you.

  • dkm May 11, 2017 (10:25 pm)

      I love the name! Thank you for coming to our neighborhood. Will be there as soon as you open. The very best to you!

  • Diane May 12, 2017 (12:39 am)

    well he won me with this, “He spoke of senior citizens, who “made this country what it is – we don’t appreciate them enough.”; I’ve never heard a new restaurant opening even mention senior citizens 

  • WS Guy May 12, 2017 (1:23 am)

    Sounds great.  I can’t wait to take my kids there. 

  • David May 12, 2017 (4:51 am)

    We usually don’t even go into restaurants with TV’s – it cheapens the atmosphere. If we get friend reports that this place is good we will try it once ourselves to decide if it is worth an exception. Good luck with that corner !

  • Liz May 12, 2017 (6:26 am)

    A diner sounds like a good idea. I think a restaurant that can handle large breakfast crowds on weekends will do well there.

  • giglsmith May 12, 2017 (7:44 am)

    Good luck you guys and welcome to the neighborhood!

    My daughter and I will be in to visit. Two things I hope you could include.

    A gluten free bun so I can have a burger and my daughter really really liked that the kids meal at Shelby’s came with a dessert ;)

  • RPH May 12, 2017 (8:36 am)

    Thanks, @Jeff,  for pointing out the obvious inconsistencies and vagaries revealed in this interview as to the nature of  the GAD’s “business plan”. Researching the owners’ previous and most recent “experience” through online reviews is not encouraging. The Yankee Diner, whose sign similarly reads “Great American Food & Bar”, and that rates two and a half stars, indicates a consistent theme of bland mediocrity. Descriptions of “upscale/a lot of value, slight twist, all fresh ingredients, good, wholesome, hearty, exciting, I can do anything” remind me a lot of our current national dialog and what it means to be “great”.

    “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    • RPH May 12, 2017 (8:51 am)

      correction: The Yankee Grill 

    • JanS May 14, 2017 (1:31 pm)

      and I saw 4 1/2 stars  on places….and SO WHAT? Do you read movie reviews first, but see the movie anyway to see for yourself? I do…and have found good movies that way. A review is only someone else’s opinion, nothing more, nothing less. The only way to really know is first hand experience. Maybe you should try that. And, no, I have no idea who the owners are. If they can make me a good burger, I’m sold…I can go to Jak’s for a steak, Mio Posto  for Italian and pizza. It is going to be a diner…with a bar…Lordy, the opinions on here are something to behold.

    • MorgJunc May 16, 2017 (10:16 pm)

      Thank you for posting this, those are my thoughts exactly. After looking at their past establishments on yelp, you can just look through the photos to understand the extremely poor reviews. All cheap fried bar food, salads have old looking hardboiled eggs, random local sport paraphernalia, pull tabs, etc… I know it’s not the WSB’s job to criticize local establishments, but this reads too much like a forced puff piece.

      The Junction deserves better local options, not… this.

      https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-spot-sports-bar-and-grill-renton

      • WSB May 16, 2017 (11:00 pm)

        What our job is, is to tell you in a case like this what people say they are going to do. And that’s what we did. Even if we did critique local establishments – there’s nothing to critique as this place isn’t open yet.

  • A May 12, 2017 (9:00 am)

    David- sounds like you have a great sense of community- way to support local businesses!   Here is to your success Great American Diner!

  • HelperMonkey May 12, 2017 (9:36 am)

    if you make a good tuna melt, I am there. :) 

  • star May 12, 2017 (10:08 am)

    OMG West Seattle  sure does have it’s fair share of snobby arse people!  

  • Steve May 12, 2017 (8:04 pm)

    Whatever you do, please do something about the acoustics. that space is so large with too many hard surfaces that even with a small gathering it is worse than a train station. I don’t have the answers to this problem but anyone will tell you that Shelby’s was noisy and so was A Terrible Beauty. Solve this problem and you will beat back one of the demons in this space.

  • BigTone May 12, 2017 (9:47 pm)

    I wish these two good luck. Coming from Renton and having eaten at both the Yankee grill which is decent and has stood the test of time for decades as well as The Spot which had some great tavern food I look forward to trying out the G.A.D 

  • curtis May 13, 2017 (2:31 am)

    I guess it will be fine. I am not really all that thrilled about an “upscale” anything. The Diner part does interest me though. To be honest, what I really want is for Easy Street to go 24hrs. Or perhaps a west Seattle “Beth’s” or “The Doghouse” would be just what i am looking for.  And, of course, Merlot 😉 

    • andy May 13, 2017 (9:57 am)

      Yes, something like “Beths” or the “Doghouse” would be great.

      • JanS May 14, 2017 (1:18 pm)

        Andy…Beth’s exists…get in your car and go there !. And the Doghouse has been gone a long time…maybe just support this place, help these’s guys dream come true…

  • Anthony May 14, 2017 (12:10 pm)

    So excited!  I’ve lived kiddy-corner from the place for almost 15 years, and have watched six other restaurants occupy that space, and I wish them the best.  Yes, it looks like they’ve got big ideas, but they also have a lot of experience, so I have faith.  I just hope the building owner is flexible and smart enough to know that charging a reasonable rent is better than getting no rent at all. (Not that I know any real details, just guessing that’s been part of the problems in the past)

    And I love the name. Nothing wrong with the term “American”, and nothing wrong with “Greatness.” Jeez.

     

  • JanS May 14, 2017 (1:16 pm)

    ok, folks, I get it…but really, how inhospitable can you be. Wish it was this , or wish it was that, or “it’s doomed in that spot”. If you don’t like the font (good grief), or the name(more good grief), then effing don’t spend your dollars there. But the actual owner has been following this thread, and has been very gracious to you all…how imbecilic and offensive can this community be?  The place isn’t even open yet ! And if you are equating the name to the current regime in the White House, take a hike. That doesn’t belong here. If you want a certain type of place in any of the empty spaces   in the area, named a certain name,  then open your own – it’s that simple.  Don’t sit here behind your keyboards and crap on someone else’s dream !

  • meatpocket May 15, 2017 (2:20 pm)

    Seem like nice guys, but this sounds pretty terrible. Best of luck, but mention of Yankee Grill and cruise food are not selling it for me. 

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