SALT LAKE CITY — After two decades serving hungry customers, Blue Plate Diner in Salt Lake City will close its doors in May. This comes after the diner's owners decided to sell the building to developers who are looking to build apartments and storefronts, according to Blue Plate's general manager Joe Mandel.
"I'm going to obviously miss all of the customers," Mandel said. He has worked at the restaurant for more than 15 years. "Like, everybody I knew by first name, which was a lot of people."
Blue Plate Diner has been at its 2041 S. 2100 East location in Salt Lake City since opening its doors in 2000. The building is filled with memories. Old postcards line the ceiling, sent in from customers as far away as New York. License plates from nearly every state hang from the walls. At the front of the restaurant sits the diner's iconic soda fountain bar.
"Hard to find somewhere like that nowadays, I feel like," said McKenna Barlow, a busser at the restaurant. "They're all going out of business and stuff like that."
All of those memories are soon to be torn down with the sale of the building.
"It's no secret that for the last seven years, people have been trying to buy these buildings," Mandel said. "And we've just held out because we weren't ready to... I guess, give up."
With the financial impacts of the pandemic and the looming development surrounding the restaurant, Mandel said the decision to sell just made sense.
"All the buildings around us are going to be torn down regardless," he said. "Do we really want to spend the next two years losing our parking and potentially just having construction going on? When all those factors came together, it was like, 'OK, let's maybe put this out there and see where we go from here.'"
Blue Plate Diner announced the sale in an Instagram post Thursday evening. It wasn't easy news for longtime customers and staff.
"It's just such a shame that they're demolishing it instead of, just like, somebody else took over," Mandel said. "You could still come in here and see the bar and all that stuff and the environment."
According to Mandel, the new owners intend to build mixed-use apartments and retail shops where the restaurant stands today. He thanks all of the customers for their years of support.
"We are utterly humbled by everybody's response," Mandel said. "We are so thankful for you guys letting us do what we've been able to do for the last 20 years."
Blue Plate Diner's doors will officially close on May 4, but the diner will continue to serve customers under normal hours until then.