South Hutchinson’s Diner 2 welcomes back customers

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A dinner on South Hutchinson‘s Main Street has changed hands and names several times, from Mom’s Cafe to AW Diner to The Diner 2.

Today, The Diner 2 continues to attract regulars, often chatting across the tables and cracking jokes back and forth.

Rick Hinderliter owns The Diner 2, with Rob Kessler acting as manager and often works in the kitchen on a daily basis while Hinderliter does administrative work for the restaurant.

Hinderliter said many customers stay even though the restaurant has changed hands.

“Probably the whole restaurant is full of regulars. They all know each other, so it’s like a hangout for them,” Hinderliter said.

Diner 2 reopened last November on Main Street in South Hutchinson.  The restaurant has been around for decades although it has changed hands several times over the years.

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Challenges when reopening The Diner 2

The small restaurant reopened in November last year after being closed for two months since the change in ownership. Kessler said it gave staff and owners time to revamp the building because they lost half of its dining space.

The previous owners of The Diner 2 sold half of its space, including the area where there was a buffet table.

“When we had it on both sides before, our seating capacity was around 98, and now our seating capacity is around 50,” Kessler said. “We want to reopen our buffets, so we hope to expand into that other side that we had before.”

Kessler said he hopes to purchase and reopen the adjoining space by mid-spring this year to double Diner 2’s seating capacity and reopen buffets.

A regulars restaurant

Diner 2 manager Rob Kessler prepares a plate of the restaurant's Wednesday special, goulash, for a regular.

Diner 2 offers home-cooked American-style meals seven days a week, with popular dishes like meatloaf, liver, and onions.

The restaurant has a small team, less than 10 employees, but often the team interacts with regulars and participates in conversations.

“We sit down and shoot the breeze. We talk about everything under the sun,” Kessler said.

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Kessler said it offers a daily special ranging from chili dogs to roast beef sandwiches and serves breakfast all day.

Restaurant regulars often fill Diner 2 tables, but Hinderliter said some of their regulars have yet to return.

“We’re trying to keep our prices fair and we just want people to know we’re open again,” Hinderliter said.

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