Original Metro Diner to reopen after car crashed into landmark

Hendricks Avenue location closed for days to repair damage from crash

By Colette DuChanois - Web producer, Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The original Jacksonville Metro Diner will reopen Saturday after a car crashed into the landmark on Hendricks Avenue last week. 

The chain's original restaurant will open back up at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20, just in time for Easter. The reopening comes 12 days after it closed to repair damage from the after-hours crash April 8

Managing partner Daniel Schellhorn previously told News4Jax that about 7:45 p.m. April 8, a Toyota Camry struck the building after the driver had to swerve to avoid another car on Hendricks Avenue. Schellhorn said the driver of the Camry was OK. No one was inside the restaurant at the time of the crash, as the Hendricks Avenue location closes its doors at 3 p.m.

RELATED: Car slams into original Metro Diner

The damage meant several weeks of lost business, or so it seemed at the time. 

"The initial estimate was that would be two to three weeks," managing partner Ed Lenhart told News4Jax on Friday. "We just doubled up. We have an outstanding construction crew. They came in and brought their people in. Everybody worked around the clock."

Lenhart said the store has been repaired and remodeled.

"What we've been able to do was make improvements in the diner itself. The diner’s been here since 1992 as Metro Diner," he said. "We took the opportunity to do a facelift and make some improvements throughout the structure and the patio, very proud of the patio."

Lenhart said there’s lots of "new" in the building, such as floors, stucco and lighting. But there’s also the familiar, including the employees, who were taken care of during the time the restaurant has been closed.

"We were able to get most of the team members at other diners to work. And then, of course, we have a crew on here," he said. "Anybody who didn't have that opportunity to work at another diner or because of transportation, they will be compensated."

The Metro Diner team credits support from the city; the Davoli family, Metro Diner's founders; construction partner Bill Holmes, with TWT Construction; and the community for getting the diner back into full operation in time to serve guests for Easter weekend. 

The Metro Diner on Hendricks Avenue passed all three inspections Friday, so Lenhart and his team said they’re ready to welcome customers back Saturday morning. That's when the iconic restaurant will once again be open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.metrodiner.com.

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