AUGUSTA — Kim and Mike Meservey opened Downtown Diner in 2011 after operating Bond Brook Pancake House at a strip mall on Mount Vernon Avenue for 17 years.
Since the move, the diner has served as an anchor for Augusta’s downtown, drawing visitors for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.
“It’s helped add a new element to the downtown and is helping in its revitalization efforts,” said Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce President Peter Thompson Monday.
He said the diner provided a spark for the downtown, which has struggled in the past.
“Just like the Riverfront Barbecue, it brings people into the downtown,” Thompson said, referring to another Water Street restaurant. “And once they’re there, they might see other things that will appeal to them for their shopping needs and for their business needs, their commercial needs.”
Downtown Diner will be awarded a Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce President’s Award at the chamber’s annual banquet on Jan. 24 at the Augusta Civic Center. The Kennebec Journal is a member of the chamber.
Kim Meservey said the move downtown has been a huge success for the business. They get more patrons downtown, and the customers say they like the new location better, she said.
She said they had customers the first day even though they didn’t advertise the opening, so she asked customers how they knew the diner was open.
“They said we went downtown and there were cars,” Meservey said.
The couple are involved in the Augusta Downtown Alliance, a downtown revitalization group. Meservey said she believes the downtown has improved in recent years and will eventually be more popular for visitors and businesses.
“A lot more has to happen. It’s just going to take more time,” she said.
The Meserveys rent the 204 Water St. location from Tobias Parkhurst, who owns a couple of downtown buildings. The diner still has a stained-glass sign above the entrance for Hersey’s Shoe Store, an early business at the site.
“I love the location. Look at that view,” Kim Meservey said Monday morning, pointing to the vista between two buildings across the street of the Kennebec River and Fort Western on the other side. “And I love the people here.”
Thompson praised the Meserveys for being enthusiastic about their work and for caring about doing it well.
“This is just a very fun couple,” he said. “They’re a very high energy, very loving couple. They work hard, and they play hard.”