2012-08-24 / Front Page

Newly Opened Freedom Diner Plans Saturday Grand Opening

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Glenda Smith, manager of the Freedom Diner, serves up a fresh order of biscuits and gravy with hash browns. (Staff Photo) Glenda Smith, manager of the Freedom Diner, serves up a fresh order of biscuits and gravy with hash browns. (Staff Photo) The Freedom Diner opened this week along heavily traveled State Road 67S in Freedom.

Currently open seven days a week, the restaurant takes pride in its homestyle, made-from-scratch menu, all served in the comfort of a community atmosphere.

“We’ve had a good response from the community since we opened. A lot of people have given us pictures of old history to (feature on our walls),” diner manager Glenda Smith said. “They’ve been very supportive of it. The whole vibe of the restaurant is serving home cooked meals, homestyle, and it’s going over well.”

The diner will host a grand opening this coming Saturday, August 25, opening for breakfast at 7:00 a.m., with lunch being served starting at 11:00 a.m. A local band, ‘Yesterday’s News,’ will be on hand to provide live entertainment from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


More than two months of hard work went into remodeling the interior of the newly opened Freedom Diner, which features seating for approximately 40 customers. (Staff Photo) More than two months of hard work went into remodeling the interior of the newly opened Freedom Diner, which features seating for approximately 40 customers. (Staff Photo) “The support has blown my mind, just how much they want a business back in town,” she said. “At one time, it was a busy little town and the people who remember that, want that back. We don’t have specials at $7 or $8, because that’s not the community we’re in, we want to keep it reasonable, with specials at $5.50, so it’s fair.”

A neighbor of the diner, Mary Randolph, donated her time to help owners and fellow Freedom residents Chris Hand and Bruce Lawson remodeled and clean the building over the course of the past two months. Now, Randolph and her daughters, Smith and Missy Spears-DeVoe, are on staff at the diner.

The Freedom Diner recently opened along heavily traveled State Road 67S in Freedom. Staff members pictured above include, left to right: Missy Spears-DeVoe, John Smith, Glenda Smith, Chris Hand and Mary Randolph. (Staff Photo) The Freedom Diner recently opened along heavily traveled State Road 67S in Freedom. Staff members pictured above include, left to right: Missy Spears-DeVoe, John Smith, Glenda Smith, Chris Hand and Mary Randolph. (Staff Photo) “We were working way into the night sometimes... it was a big job,” Randolph said. “The community people just jumped in and asked what they could help with.”

Smith said that the owners have been very open to suggestion and listen to the input of community members. A number of old photos depicting Freedom many years ago are found hanging on the diner’s walls.

“They had no idea of what decor they wanted in here, but the community has chipped in and this is what they want to surround themselves with while they socialize before they hit the (farm) fields,” she said. “When the community stays behind it, a business stays afloat.”

Hand explained that the location was once the site of a twostory building, where a restaurant was housed on the bottom level and the family of Mary West resided upstairs. The building was rebuilt in 1968.

“Since then it’s been a couple of different things and has sat empty for a long period of time. It’s been a dream of mine and many other people to bring back a little life to this community,” he said. “It’s not about making money, it’s more about the community and restaurant.”

The owners have plans to initiate several community outreach efforts, such as starting a food bank, allowing folks to take what they need and leave what they would like.

“Once a week we’re going to feed a family or individual who doesn’t have the opportunity to come out and enjoy a good, home cooked meal,” Hand said. “We’ll have churches and community members giving us suggestions, so they can come in and enjoy a nice meal for free. Our mission is to be a place where people can come in and make friends. Most people in the community who don’t go to church don’t get a chance to meet people. We’ve had new families moving in, and a lot of people have to work on Sundays, so they need a place to gather.”

While parking can be found on the south side of the building, additional parking is available across the highway in a gravel lot adjacent to the Freedom Baptist Church.

“It’s all kind of a family, and we want it to be known as a local gathering place,” Hand said. “Come on in and have dinner. Our menu will be more consistent, but there will be specials every night. Even if they come in at 7:59, as long as people are coming in, the doors will be open. We just want to serve the community good food and see people enjoying themselves in a relaxing atmosphere.”

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