Concord's Primary Diner Closes
Owners of Pleasant Street establishment say they ran out of resources but were glad they gave it a shot.
Not unlike a feisty presidential effort that wasn’t able to get its candidate's campaign off the ground, the Primary Diner, an eatery on Pleasant Street that has been open since October 2012, closed its doors last week.
Rebecca Darman, a co-owner of the restaurant with her husband David, a former NHPR reporter, declined to be interviewed and instead, referred inquiries about the closing to their statement on the diner’s Facebook site.
According to the post, the couple closed the diner on Feb. 15, saying that the project was “entirely self-funded” and “alas our pockets were not deep enough to keep going during the dirge months of winter” in the city.
“We had a finite amount of resources and we knew when they were gone, they were gone,” the post stated. “We always wanted to give it a try, and we are so glad we did!”
Rebecca Darman noted in the post that they also doubted their lease would be renewed since a church was in the process of buying the building and it wanted to open a soup kitchen where the diner was located. She said if anyone was interested in carrying on the diner idea at another location, they should reach out to the couple. She also stated the two would be looking for work and thanked everyone for coming to the restaurant.
“It was the most rewarding job we ever had,” the post stated. “Thank you EACH and EVERY ONE of you for making our dream so great while it was alive!!”
The politically themed restaurant, which offered breakfast fare and sandwiches, attached political names and references to its offerings such as the John Edwards tuna BLT melt, Arlen Specter pastrami, and Joe Lieberman Reuben.
The diner had received positive reviews online.
Six reviewers at Yelp.com, the food review site, offered compliments and critique, saying an omelet was "perfectly prepared," the service was great, but one noted that the potatoes were a little overdone and too peppery but still edible.
However, one customer, a public school teacher, left a highly critical review in November 2012, saying they wouldn’t be returning due to the “Republican-themed dishes” and the “Republican/Tea Party” waitress, who the woman falsely accused of being a co-owner that reportedly railed “against Obama and unions” during a customer interaction.
“She began to lecture us about how unions don't do anything, are essentially evil, etc.,” the reviewer claimed. “It was unbelievable. Apparently our uncomfortable silence, facial expressions and body language did not convey our wish for her to stop her (ignorant) diatribe.”
Rebecca Darman left a note about a week later correcting the reviewer that the waitress was not a co-owner and added that she was no longer employed at the diner. She noted that they encouraged “political banter but our motto at the diner is ‘We cater to ALL parties’” adding that she was a Democrat and her husband is an indie voter.
“As far as the names of our menu items, we try to split them down the middle but some days when items come off the menu, it becomes unbalanced in Republican and Democratic names,” she noted, adding that she was saddened to read that the diner was losing a customer.
However, another “Elite” Yelp reviewer said the Primary Diner was exactly the type of restaurant that was needed in Downtown Concord.
"Concord was definitely in need of a diner in the downtown area!," the reviewer wrote. “There have been no full-fledged diners in Concord for over 10 years since the Capital City Diner shut down in 2000, which is now The Common Man."
And it would seem, not unlike wandering, discouraged voters after a campaign folds, downtown diners looking for breakfast choices may long be searching for another establishment that offers more than just a bagel on the run.