On Wed., June 20, the owners of Southwest Diner - Jonathan Jones and Anna Sidel - put a bright-blue wooden cactus sign in front of the much-anticipated eatery with the word “open.”
The duo had recognized the potential in launching a brick-and-mortar restaurant last year after they witnessed firsthand the success of their eponymously named taco stand that’s set up on weekends at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. As they posted photos of the diner’s progress on its Facebook page, followers continued to express their readiness to nab a table.
"We already have a few regulars - some stopping in on their way to work and people who’ve been watching our progress," Jones says.
Southwest Diner’s menu mixes Southwest specialties and diner food with aplomb. Tacos, scrambles and tostadas come with a choice of red or green chile sauces. Like sopaipillas for breakfast with a drizzle of honey? They’ve got you covered. Ditto for homemade pie, which beckons diner style under a clear dome on the counter. Try hand-dipped malts or shakes, burgers plain and Southwestern, fries golden brown and served hot.
The DIY aesthetic comes through in the decorative elements Jones and Sidel added to the space. Antique schoolhouse pendant lights hang over the counter, where you’ll find the requisite black-padded stools. “We poured and finished the concrete countertop and trimmed out with the wood,” Jones says.
Vintage signs touting malts, bacon, burgers, waffles and chiles light up in X-ray housings across from the counter. No-nonsense Formica tabletops juxtapose with whimsical wall art of cowboys, vintage New Mexico maps, roadrunners and coyotes. A cascade of deep red chiles hang from the ceiling, reinforcing the Southwest theme.
Southwest Diner is open from 6am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday.
Southwest Diner, 6803 Southwest Ave., facebook.com/SWdinerSTL