ELK PARK — A community staple is returning soon under new management.
What was once Times Square Diner will be reopening as Times Square Restaurant within the next couple weeks after extensive renovations. The exact opening date is not set in stone, but the location will begin its renewed foray with breakfast and lunch offerings Wednesday through Sunday before eventually adding dinner service and opening its doors seven days a week.
Paul Alcazar, president of PB&J Hospitality Group, the company running the restaurant, said the parking lot and interior of the building have been remodeled, along with a new kitchen.
The restaurant will be serving up Southern comfort food including burgers, pizzas, chicken and dumplings, country fried steak and blue plate specials. Alcazar said the restaurant wants to bring back items that defined the restaurant when it was open in the past, like milkshakes and sundaes.
Alcazar said the restaurant has received community response and will open quietly, get some feedback from patrons and go from there.
Alcazar added that there have been no real problems getting the restaurant ready to open, but restaurants take time to prepare. PB&J already opened Bodega’s Kitchen and Wine Bar in Banner Elk earlier this year.
“We don’t want to just open the doors just to open the doors,” Alcazar said. “We really wanted to make sure we had a product that we could stand behind, something that the community could be proud of.”
Alcazar said the restaurant’s interior will have some callbacks to the establishment’s past displays despite being remodeled, and PB&J knows how important the location is to the community.
“We’ve done some homework and tried to stay true to that. We don’t want to forget what made this corner such a great spot for so many years,” Alcazar said. “But we also want to tip our hat to the past, but also respect the present and look towards the future.”
Alcazar said the restaurant is for the community and will be reaching out more when it opens.
“Anybody who’s within earshot that has been waiting for this corner to open back up, it’s for them,” Alcazar said. “We’re really excited for this to be given back to the locals. Obviously, we’ll see tourists that come driving through and things like that, but this is very much about the people that are here year round and that have great memories in this building.”
Alcazar said the restaurant will have approachable price points.