Monday, May 03, 2010

Observer Scooped Again

Following up on Ellouise's and Bob Ellis' scoop, published here on the CHS54 website, The Charlotte Observer finally published the story (without giving this site credit).

Here's their version:

Twenty-eight years ago, Jerry Pistiolis bought The Diamond restaurant in Plaza Midwood, then did the smartest thing a new owner could: He didn't mess things up.
The Diamond had been a lunch and dinner hangout for Charlotte's judicial crowd and others for decades, serving simple and flavorful cooking with a friendly coziness. Pistiolis maintained the legacy with his own soft-spoken warmth, handing out mints to regulars after he rounded down some of their checks to the nearest dollar.
On Friday, he worked the register for the last time as owner. "I'm 65 years old," he said. "It's time." He's selling to three younger men who own nearby restaurants, including the Penguin. The new owners plan on renovating The Diamond, which opened in 1945, and perhaps keeping it open 24 hours. But much of the menu - and spirit - will remain. "This is a preservation effort," said one, Andy Kastanas.
Pistiolis will stop back in to work occasionally, he said, so on Friday the restaurant's regulars came not so much to say goodbye, but thank you. They took pictures with Pistiolis and each other. They clapped as former Mayor Richard Vinroot read a plaque that thanked Pistiolis, and as others talked about how the restaurant was Old Charlotte, a place to feel community.
Finally, as waitresses clinked and bustled, regular David Trammell presented Pistiolis with an envelope - a collection he took from other regulars so their restaurant's caretaker could take a trip to Charleston.
A grateful Pistiolis smiled and nodded. "You've been a good friend," he said to his customer.
Said Trammell: "You've been our good friend, too."