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Arsenal Street Diner to roll out homestyle menu at Saturday grand opening

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It will be a special moment for Phillip T. Kane when the first customer buys breakfast during the grand opening of Arsenal Street Diner on Saturday.

After leasing the building at 821 Arsenal St. in 2011, Mr. Kane spent more than two years gutting the interior and installing new kitchen appliances. The homestyle restaurant, which will feature a simple breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, was inspired by diners that Mr. Kane visited across the country as an independent contractor who logged more than 100,000 miles a year on the road.

“I had tossed the idea back and forth for years, because I have always enjoyed diner food during my road travels,” said the 52-year-old, who finished most of the construction work himself at the 2,600-square-foot diner. “This was my first major construction project, and I’m giving it back to the community to enjoy.”

Seating 84 people, the diner will be staffed by 11 full-time and six part-time employees. Mr. Kane and his wife, Dorene F., interviewed 60 candidates Monday and Tuesday to hire servers, cooks and dish washers.

Offered throughout the day, the breakfast menu will feature classic items such as pancakes, eggs, omelettes, bacon and sausage. The lunch menu will feature hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and club sandwiches, buffalo wings, french fries and salads. Specialty sandwiches, steak, chicken, fish and filet mignon will be featured for dinner. Daily specials ranging from $9 to $15 will be offered from 11 a.m. “until the food runs out,” Mr. Kane said.

Mr. Kane, who grew up in the city and graduated from Watertown High School in 1980, said he believes there’s room for another family-style diner in the community.

“I believe people are willing to pay for good food at good prices. And I’ve been to a lot of diners in the area, but this one is my kind of style,” he said. “I’m a blue jeans kind of guy, and I would still be one if I had $40 million.”

Mr. Kane said he’ll also enjoy the challenge of training the new staff in a fast-paced atmosphere. Diners will notice a quirky sign that reads: “If you give it to a waitress, the waitress will give it back.” The sign is evidence of Mr. Kane’s gregarious personality.

“I’m the type of guy that loves chaos,” he said with a smile. “And I have some waitresses that are really sassy here, so if you say something, you won’t get away with it.”

The diner will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

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