Patch Spring Tour: Oak Creek Diner, Your Latest Local Hot Spot
The newest restaurant in Oak Creek is off to a good start.
When it comes to restaurants in this fair city, Oak Creek Diner is the new kid in town.
The business at 6874 S. 13th St. opened on March 1 in the same building previously occupied by Nick's Family Restaurant, which shut down in December.
How best to describe Oak Creek Diner to prospective restaurant-goers? Co-owner Linda Swenson says the food is in line with the stereotypical diner - eggs, omelets, burgers, chicken, dinner specials and anything else one would probably look for when they see a sign for "Oak Creek Diner."
"Your basic, All-American food," Swenson said.
The interior is also typical of a classic diner, although it should be mentioned how much work was put into sprucing the place up after Nick's closed. Many hours were spent cleaning and re-decorating to get the business opened in a relatively short timeframe.
Swenson owns the business along with her husband Robert Weinstein and employee Laura Peil. Weinstein's mother used to work at Nick's, and combined with a self-described love of eating, that's how he and Swenson got involved.
Weinstein and Swenson have traveled all over and would love to incorporate food from different locales - a Philly cheesesteak, North Carolina barbecue - into the Oak Creek Diner menu.
But for all three co-owners, the term "local" can't be used enough to describe their business practices. The meat products are from Butcher Block, for example. Other food is from Oak Creek-based Reinhart FoodService.
"With the local economy the way that it is, we want to help bolster" Oak Creek businesses, Swenson said.
The owners don't have a big budget, so a lot of the advertising is through word-of-mouth. But Oak Creek Diner has done well so far in its first several weeks, Swenson said.
A lot of the old Nick's customers have come back, and the location makes it well-situated to succeed. To the north are the 13th Street hotels, and South Shore Cinema is just down the street to the south. Milwaukee Area Technical College is just a short trip east.
Oak Creek Diner also draws many employees working in the area, Swenson said.
I can vouch for the classic "diner" experience you get when you come there. Seeing as lunch time had come and gone and my stomach was still empty, I tried out the cheeseburger after I finished talking with Swenson. It was more than enough to satisfy the appetite, and the price was more than reasonable as well.
Of course, that's what you expect with the local joint, right? For owners who pride themselves on buying local, they can also take pride in the friendly, local experience they created with Oak Creek Diner.