REDFORD — Whether it’s a traveling carnival, a taxi service or a dining spot on a major North Country travel corridor, social businesses appeal to Anthony and Colleen Doty.
The Saranac Lake couple recently re-opened Mom and Pop’s Redford Diner at 4236 Route 3. After about a four-year absence, the former customers of the diner are glad to see it’s back.
”That’s what everyone’s been saying,” Colleen said.
The Dotys recently closed Doty’s Hometown Taxi in Saranac Lake, and before that they owned a traveling carnival for 13 years. They honor the memory of the carnival, 3D Amusements, at the new Redford diner with a carnival-themed dining room full of festive posters and pictures of rides, arcades and fireworks.
“We owned rides and games and we traveled all over New York State to church bazaars and firemen’s field days,” Anthony said.
They handled a food concession at the Mt. Pisgah ski area for five years and also
a concession at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid. The taxi business became too demanding of their time with it’s 20-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week schedule, and experience pulling the food trailer around gave them the idea of looking for a restaurant they wouldn’t have to tow.
They had their eye on the Redford diner as they came by on trips to Plattsburgh, and when a plan for two local veterinarians to combine forces and convert the diner into a veterinary clinic didn’t pan out, they jumped at the chance.
”That fell through, and here we are,” Anthony said.
Even after being abandoned for such a long time, the roof was sound and the building was in relatively good shape. However, they had to put in all new equipment, tables and counters and upgrade everything to get it up to code.
”I spent probably a month and a half to two months replacing and cleaning,” Anthony said.
They opened about a month ago and business has been picking up.
”We’ve been getting a lot of repeat customers, a lot of the old clients that used to come here are back now,” Anthony said.
There area also friends from Saranac Lake who come through on shopping trips to Plattsburgh.
They serve breakfast all day in addition to lunch and supper with two or three specials a night such as roast turkey, chicken and dumplings and beer-batter cod.
”It’s all home cooking,” Anthony said.
Colleen is the baker of the family and contributes cookies, brownies and homemade pies. Her blueberry cheesecake is a specialty.
”Everyone who’s ever had it liked it,” she said.
Meeting new people is a favorite part of the job. “It’s kind of like the carnival and taxi businesses,” Colleen said. “You make a lot of friends in the social businesses.”
While it’s not as bad as the taxi company, the hours are still long. They have to leave Saranac Lake at 5:30 in the morning and work well into the night.
The diner is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. They also have a soft-ice cream shop on the premises.
“Come enjoy a home-cooked meal, a nice atmosphere and friendly people,” Colleen said.
They hope it works out for the long term, but have a year lease with an option so they can see how it goes.
”We want to give it a try for a year or two,” Anthony said. “We’re going to be putting a suggestion box up to see what people want.”
For more information, call 293-8909.
Email Bruce Rowland