Tuesday, May 17, 2022

What’s cooking? Shorty’s Diner is opening a second location in Richmond

Shorty’s Diner in Richmond was previously a Metro Diner. The location has the ability to seat about 100 guests inside, with a patio outside, too. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Tony Short)

A Williamsburg brand is making its debut in the state capital.

Shorty’s Diner is opening a second location in Richmond in just a few weeks.

“We’re truly blessed and fortunate,” said Tony Short, one of the owners, whose father, Gil, founded the restaurant nearly nine years ago. “We have a lot of community support, too.”

Short said his family had been discussing franchising the business for a while, but in order to do so, needed to find a second location first. After a long search, Short said they found a place almost too perfect to be true: 5625 W. Broad St.

The weird part? The space was formerly occupied by Metro Diner.

“The interior has a similar look to the Shorty’s brand, with the checkerboard tile, too,” Short said, adding they put a fresh coat of paint on the inside along with some new 1950s decor to complete the diner aesthetic.

But just because the business is franchising doesn’t mean the menu will be changing.

Short said both locations will continue to serve breakfast and lunch, featuring menu items like biscuits and sausage gravy, pancakes, hamburgers and sandwiches.

Shorty’s Diner has also made a lot of upgrades at its home turf in Williamsburg. The original location has been upgraded with contactless payment options and partnered with DoorDash.

Short said the upgrades were especially helpful during the pandemic, but he attributes the business’s success to its community-based model.

“A large part of our customer base are essential workers,” he said, adding he feels the brand is almost recession-proof. “We’re not built around tourism.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Short said the Williamsburg location had about 23 employees, and since then, they actually had to expand, hiring several more workers.

The Richmond location is currently hiring, too.

Meanwhile, Short’s parents, Gil and Bonnie, are still helping out behind the scenes. His father is semi-retired while his mother makes desserts for the Williamsburg location.

Short said the Richmond location is planning to have a soft opening within the next week, and then a grand opening later in March.

A date has not been solidified for the grand opening.

Shorty’s Diner, located at 627 Merrimac Trail, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Online ordering with takeout options are available via third-party apps. To view the menus, click here.

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