By Isaac Bonnell
After five weeks of renovation, Diamond Jim’s Grill is now open in its new space at 2400 Meridian St., the former home of Speak E-Z’s.
The move is a considerable expansion for the business, which jumped from a mere 900 square feet at the old triangular-shaped building on North State Street to more than 2,500 square feet in the new location.
“I’ve always wanted to expand, but I just never had the space,” owner Jim Green said. “Here I have a more modern kitchen that’s almost as big as the seating area.”
With the extra space and kitchen capacity, Green said he would like to add a dinner menu by the end of this year. He plans to offer home-cooked comfort foods such as meatloaf and hamburgers.
The new space still has iconic pieces of the old diner. The breakfast counter is the same, with the same vintage lights overhead. The old neon clock still hangs on the wall, across from the drive-through-style menu.
Green had some trepidation about the move — restaurants have struggled in this recession because people are eating out less often and food prices have continued to rise — but his worries were eased a bit by the crowd that filled the diner on opening day.
Green has been searching for a suitable place to relocate his business since August 2009 when the City of Bellingham approached him to buy his building. The city is planning to improve the intersection adjacent to the old location for better connectivity to the freeway.
Green had just celebrated 13 years in the North State Street building when he closed the restaurant on April 10.
Though the building contained many memories for Green, he said he is happy with the new location and is excited about what he can do with the space.
“Here I feel like its more of my own creation,” he said.