Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our favorite breakfast spot

My husband showed me this today. It's from our local paper about our favorite breakfast spot. It's a real old fashioned, grungy, hometown place.

Published: February 23, 2009

Tom’s Diner is the kind of place you can go get meals like liver and onions or meatloaf for lunch, or breakfast any time if that’s what you want.

The daily specials come with vegetables, mashed potatoes and bread. Coffee refills are free. There’s a smoking section, and the wait staff will take time to chat.

Even with all of that going for it, the economy is hitting the place hard.

“We’re struggling,”said Bill Saleh, who has owned the diner at 9003 Centreville Road for the last eight years.

The slide has been coming on over the last seven to nine months, and it’s the worst Saleh has seen.

Everything is stacked against the father of four who came to the United States from Jerusalem in 1983.

Saleh said the downturn has hit him from all sides, with the double whammy of a drop in business coupled with an increase in the prices he has to pay for food and supplies.

“People come in, but the traffic is much less,” said the 47-year-old Saleh, who estimates that business is off by 25 percent from last year. “It’s a big difference in the prices of our products.”

Like other business owners, Saleh has had to eliminate spending wherever he could just to stay afloat.

“I cut hours for the dishwashers and the cook. I haven’t had to lay anybody off yet,” said Saleh, who owned an ice cream vending business in Pennsylvania before he came to Manassas.

Saleh said he just hopes he can hang on until things get better.

Regina Moore has worked at the diner that used to be called the Colonial Restaurant on and off for 15 years.

She looks at the bright side, even though she doesn’t make as much in tips these days.

“Weekends are still good,” said the 50-year-old Moore. “Everybody’s pretty nice. They all try to leave something.”

Food at the diner is reasonably priced with an anytime breakfast special of two eggs, two pieces of bacon, two pieces of sausage and two pancakes that goes for $4.99.

Moore said it’s not the kind of place where people come in and “spend a lot of money.”

“We survive day by day,” Moore said. “It’s got its good days and its bad days.”

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