Apr 29, 2008

Open for Business

by Dominique McKay
Dozens of students stood in line outside the doors of Doc’s Diner on Thursday, waiting to be the first served at Liberty University’s newest eatery. Named after the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, the diner opened exclusively to the Liberty community. White survey cards were placed on every table for students to write down their comments and give suggestions for possible improvements on the service of the new diner, which seats 165 people in booths. “It’s a friendly atmosphere,” senior Tim Talley said. “I know a lot of people from the community will be drawn here.” With a “71” imprinted on the floor of the entryway and red ties hanging all around, the diner had a line out the door within its first hour of business, and waiters dressed in maroon button-downs promptly jotted down orders and served drinks. “This is all brand new for me. I’ve been in food service before, but nothing like this,” server and sophomore Richard Shive said. “I know these two weeks are going to be busy, but I’m excited and glad that I get to be a part of it.” The diner’s staff will consist of nearly 50 part-time workers, a majority being Liberty students. Meal points are accepted, but all tips must be cash or credit, according to Jeff Ledbetter, the diner’s retail manager. The diner, which serves breakfast all day, also includes a to-go service for students who might need to get food quickly between classes. “I like the fact that they thought of the students and have meals to-go,” junior Liz Mizer said. “I will definitely try to use that when classes start up again next semester.” The decor of the diner features beige and dark green walls with photographs of Falwell Sr. hanging above many of the booths. Paula Johnson, who managed the interior decorating of the mansion, also designed the look of Doc’s Diner, according to Elizabeth VanWingerden, resident marketing manager of Liberty Dining Services. “The diner gives the feel of a ‘20s to ‘30s restaurant with an upscale look,” Ledbetter said. “It will be interesting to see how the students and public respond.” “This modern decor seems to transcend time with all of the memorabilia of Jerry and old photographs being displayed,” junior Amanda McCann said. “It reminds me of the wall of photographs that used to hang in the dining hall.” “The decorations really resemble an Applebee’s or Ruby Tuesday’s style restaurant,” senior Clay Lindner said. “Jerry Jr. and Becki Falwell looked it over and loved it,” Ledbetter said. “They were really happy and did not want one change.” In addition to the photographs hanging around the diner, many of the familiar “Liberty-isms” made their ways onto the menu, including the “Elmer Float” and “Macel’s Hot Apple Pie.” The “BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Grinder),” a Philly cheese steak, was one of the most popular choices. “That was the biggest, hairiest audacious ‘goal’ I’ve ever eaten,” Talley said after finishing his last bite of the BHAG. “Everything from the milkshake to the BHAG was outstanding.” “The opening of this new diner on Liberty’s campus is monumental, in a way,” junior Kelly Mortensen said. “I am glad I get to be among the first to enjoy it.” The diner will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday until May 8. It will be closed for the summer, but there will be a public grand opening and ribbon cutting on Aug. 14, when the next school year begins. Contact Dominque McKay dgmckay@liberty.edu.
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