Village Diner rooted itself in Hillsborough in the mid-1970s, a time when most who walked in the diner doors were regulars – community members, politicians, pastors, children, and more. 

On Wednesday, December 6, Village Diner opened its doors for the unveiling of their new lunch menu.

The diner carried the same warm, southern charm it had at the beginning – police officers gathered for lunch, another booth filled with familiar faces, and another regular, complete with a wide-brim felt hat, sat to try out most items on the new menu.

In the past few months, the space has undergone a bit of renovation to both appliances and the interior design. 

The same goes for its menu – keeping the classics of fried chicken, and tomato soup and grilled cheese, of course, but adding a new spin to eat dish.

Owner Joel Bohlin takes pride in his food, and with a concise five lunch options on the menu on its opening day, they still look to expand the menu as people continue to walk through the door. 

“Comfort food deserves quality,” Bohlin said. “What we serve, we want to take pride in it.”

When walking in the main door, the front portion of the diner still sports the old booth seats and taking up almost the full length of the room, a bright turquoise hot bar. 

This old buffet recently entered retirement with its last breakfast brunch buffet on Sunday, December 3. 

But the new chapter of Village Diner has just begun. 

To the left of the main diner space, a warmly lit side room emanates lunchtime funk music. 

This newly revamped space houses polished light wood tables and flooring against the original brick diner walls. Mirroring the boldness of the hot bar, a bright turquoise accent wall holds the door between the kitchen and the new dining room. 

It’s new, but it’s old. It looks different, but it is the same. 

Though it may look different, Bohlin sticks with the mission Ethel Stansbury, the original owner, had from the beginning.

“We want to do this right, we want it to have the same value,” Bohlin said. “We’re staying true to Southern comfort food – and we’re doing grits the right way. We soak them overnight – and our baked beans too – that’s why we called them ‘Baked Baked Beans.’” 

Bohlin isn’t a restaurant managing rookie, in fact, he’s been in the kitchen and in the restaurant business since he began working as a young boy. 

With his team of chefs Justin Cole and David Petitpas, they created this southern stand out menu and are all excited to be running lunchtime tickets. 

This menu includes an open-face tuna melt, corn cobb salad with real corn “straight from the cob,” a tomato-basil and onion grilled cheese with tomato soup, a fried chicken plate with collard greens, chow chow, and a country biscuit, and a classic diner burger with “baked baked beans.” 

This team is bound to bring Village Diner into another era of the glory days. 

They will be serving breakfast and lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Breakfast will begin to be served on Saturday, December 16. Sunday hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

As they add these hours, they will continue to move to a full schedule, eventually complete with dinner and a Friday night fish fry. For more information and updated times, visit the Village Diner page on Facebook.