Diner not done
Given that we reported last week on the tentative reopening of Mr. B's BBQ and Soul Food, I find it timely to check in with the owner of the partially destroyed diner building that used to house Mr. B at the intersection of Cimarron and Sierra Madre streets.
Tom Fincham, now retired from the car business, bought the outfit in 1999 in order to keep other potential buyers from taking it elsewhere. He was fond of the Little Chef Valentine Diner, originally built in 1954, and rented it to several outfits between 1999 and November 2008, when a minivan barreled through it.
Fincham says he's fixed the building's foundation, but still needs to finish some plumbing repairs as well as replace the front sheet metal and glass. He'll then be ready to sell the diner, and says that we may see a new business there as early as spring. He acknowledges that he does have an interested buyer, but prefers to keep the specifics quiet for the time being.
In the former Easy Street Café space that's attached to the Hub Car Wash at 6995 Lexington Drive, five-year Springs resident Sam Carter recently opened Glaze Craze (598-9771). He describes it as a small café focusing on breakfast and lunch only: biscuits and gravy and the like with local Ümpire Estates coffee in the morning, and classic New York- and New Jersey-sourced deli meat sandwiches, plus burgers and sliders, in the afternoons.
With 17 years' experience mostly in fine dining, including work in Las Vegas and casinos in southern Mississippi, Carter handles most of the cooking. Hurricane Katrina is responsible for his move to the Springs, where he used to stay with friends as a base camp for skiing.
The inspiration for Glaze Craze came from his uncle's long-standing sandwich shop on Long Island. "It's all pretty simple," he says. "A Reuben is a Reuben."
Being a regular at a place has certain advantages. One of them is that you'll likely be the first to know if the place goes up for sale. Such was Lisa Ponczoch's luck, and she moved to purchase the Heavenly Brew Coffee drive-through at 1807 N. Union Blvd.
Ponczoch had been a patron of the outfit since moving here in 2008 from Washington, and had become friendly with the former owners, who she says were ready to "go in a new direction."
She took over the spot Nov. 15 and changed the name to Higher Grounds Coffee (465-7629), which was the name of another coffee spot back home associated with her church.
The new outfit relies on beans roasted locally by Barista Espresso.