The opening of The Nicollet Diner in Loring Park is finally within reach for owners Sam Turner and Dion Coker after a long year and a half of waiting and unexpected complications.
Turner was the director of operations for an Internet service provider when he and Coker decided to try something new and open up a restaurant.
“It came pretty natural to us,” Turner said. “Most people come up with a concept and start looking for real estate and then work on it, but we backed into the concept the other way, without any plans for the real estate.”
As soon as they found 1428 Nicollet Ave. in January 2013, they jumped on the opportunity and purchased the space.
Turner and Coker have faced many obstacles since then. Turner said one of the biggest challenges was getting through the bureaucracy of the city of Minneapolis.
The drawings they submitted for approval of the renovation, created by a friend who is a civil engineer and computer-aided design artist, were not suitable because they were not detailed architectural drawings. By the time they went through the process of obtaining architectural drawings, the contractors they planned to work with were no longer available.
Yet after all of these challenges, things are still on-track to open The Nicollet Diner at the end of June.
Turner’s biggest hope is getting the business off the ground and open on time as well as building more establishments down Nicollet Avenue in the future.
Another big dream Turner and Coker are working on is obtaining approval from the city of Minneapolis to be open 24 hours, which is a four to five month long process on its own. They must start by getting approval from each neighborhood organization in Loring Park and a city council member, and work their way up to getting the approval of the city council and the mayor.
Turner said he has not heard opposition to the idea, only support and enthusiasm.
As for the menu, it’s the typical American-fare you would expect from a diner: breakfast, burgers, fries and shakes.
“For breakfast or lunch you should be paying less than $10,” Turner said. “We want to make it accessible to everyone.”
To get a peek at the menu, visit http://thenicolletdiner.com/.