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The Chronicle Express
  • New owners plan Penn Yan Diner Grand Opening

  • Serve it right, serve it fast, service with a smile


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  • The Penn Yan Diner has received a dose of CPR – Compassion, Patience, and Restoration. Carrie and Sean Ahearn will be the next Mom-and-Pop couple to open the doors and feed the hungry with traditional diner food in a cheerful, friendly environment.
    The Penn Yan Diner Grand Opening is scheduled for May 1. Patrons can enjoy their meals at one of the 10 counter stools of the original dining car, or at the five tables available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Hours of operation will be Tuesday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. for breakfast only. “Please stop in when you can – we’d be happy to have you dine with us,” say the Ahearns.
    Carrie Ahearn is a Penn Yan native. After graduating from Penn Yan Academy, Carrie served in the U.S. Air Force, spending time in S. Korea, North Carolina, New Jersey and one deployment during Desert Calm. Since returning to Penn Yan, she has worked in customer service positions while continuing her education. She is looking forward to cooking, serving, managing the books, and adding flavor to the diner’s ambiance. If she looks familiar you may have seen Carrie as the organist of the Penn Yan First Baptist Church or the Penn Yan United Methodist Church, or as an accompanist at school events.
    Sean may also have a familiar face as he was last employed at Penn Yan Plumbing and Heating.
    He moved to Penn Yan in 2004, returning to his mother’s hometown, where he vacationed during summers in his youth. He has an extensive retail management work history which began in the food industry.
    While living in New Jersey, he was a store manager of a McDonald’s for 13 years and Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse for 2.5 years. Sean is setting the standards for both food preparation and serving, and will most likely be the primary person manning the griddle, sandwich, salad, and fryer stations.
    The Penn Yan Diner was built by the Galion Dining Car Company in Galion, Ohio, and came to Penn Yan in 1925 under the ownership of Byron and Lena Legters. In 1938, the diner was purchased by Odell Jones who ran it with his wife Alice, for the next 17 years.
    It was sold in 1955 to John and Inez Quenan, who operated the diner successfully until 1980, when they sold it to Lyman Beecher.
    Rest assured, Penn Yan Diner-made pies will soon be returning, along with many of the most favorite long-time menu items. There will be some new items as well, including New York style cheesecake, both plain and chocolate-marble. Carrie is also doing her part bringing the diner into the 21st century by adding a point-of-sale system with table-side ordering. “We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel,” she says. “After all, it’s been here for 87 years.” With their experience and abilities, along with just the right touches of up-to-date customer convenience, the Ahearns are well suited to be the latest keepers of the Penn Yan Diner, ready to serve another 87 years of Penn Yan diners.

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