New diner set to open by the end of the month

Former customers of Café Pichilingue who miss the comfort food that was served by the 4928A Ross St. restaurant prior to its closure in September might soon have a substitute.

Former customers of Café Pichilingue who miss the comfort food that was served by the 4928A Ross St. restaurant prior to its closure in September might soon have a substitute.

Midtown Diner is expected to open in the café’s former premises by the end of March, said Patrick Malkin, who will operate the new restaurant with his business partner Mahziar Peyrow.

“We’re going to be doing breakfast and lunch, similar to what Pichilingue was doing,” said Malkin, who also owns Red Deer’s 50 West Bistro and One Eleven Grill with Peyrow.

“We’re really trying to cater to the downtown crowd.”

Midtown Diner will specialize in home-cooked meals, he said, adding that it will also serve a variety of beverages and snacks throughout the day.

Operating hours haven’t been finalized, but they will coincide with the downtown’s busiest times.

Café Pichilingue had been operated by Penny Elliott since 2000.

It became a popular eating spot for people working in or doing business in the downtown, but Elliott said before she closed that she wanted to slow down after nearly 15 years of long hours.

“Our goal was not to change much from what she was doing there,” said Malkin.

“Café Pichilingue was quite successful, and we like that business model.”

There have been some cosmetic changes to the restaurant’s decor, but its food and service should be similar to before, he said.

Malkin contrasted this with the more formal dining experience offered at 50 West Bistro and One Eleven Grill.

“Just something a little bit different, a little bit off the grid; something a little more casual that we could do that would be received well, hopefully.”

He and Peyrow are pleased to expand their presence in the downtown, where there is a growing number of attractions, said Malkin.

“There are really great things happening down there — a lot of culture coming to the downtown.”

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