Bel Aire Diner to become Red’s Kitchen & Tavern

I got an email yesterday from Robert DeCristoforo, a friend and former coworker of mine. The email had a link to an article from the July 7th Salem News, (Salem, Mass.) about the upcoming plans for the Bel Aire Diner located on U.S. Rte. 1 in Peabody, Mass. This article confirmed info that I already knew and posted about back in April, see…. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/notes-from-the-hotline-4-10-2010/

 The Bel Aire Diner is a large Mountain View Diner from the early 1950’s that has been closed for a number of years. It is just up the northbound side of U.S. Rte. 1 from the Sonic Drive-In that was opened almost a year ago.

 

Here is the Salem News article….

July 7, 2010

Red’s plans to open Route 1 restaurant, too

By Matthew K. Roy
Staff writer

PEABODY — Red’s Sandwich Shop, a culinary institution in downtown Salem since 1945, could be coming to Route 1 in Peabody.

Owner John Drivas has plans to open a second Red’s at the site of the long-shuttered Bel-Aire Diner on Route 1 north. It will be called Red’s Kitchen and Tavern.

“For our type of operation,” Drivas said, “it’s a perfect location.”

Red’s made a name for itself in Salem by offering an affordable variety of traditional breakfast and lunch menu options. Pending the approval of the city, the Peabody version of the restaurant could open by late fall or early next year in a new commercial building that will house multiple tenants. Ground could be broken on the project as early as next week, said David Ankeles, lawyer of property owner John Kallas.

“We’ve been looking (to expand) for some time,” Drivas said.

The third owner in its history, Drivas has run Red’s for 23 years. The Peabody location will reflect the menu and concept of the original restaurant.

Though still in the planning stages, the new restaurant is projected to be 5,000 square feet with seating for 175. It will offer breakfast, lunch and, unlike the original Red’s, dinner. The proposed operating hours are 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., according to a special permit application filed with the City Council.

“Red’s has got a good reputation, I’m sure they’ll have a positive impact in that area,” City Councilor Dave Gamache said.

Gamache represents the ward where Red’s is slated to locate.

“As soon as we can get that corner developed, the better off we’ll be,” he said.

Red’s needs the council to grant it a special permit because it intends to sell alcohol. Drivas is seeking a full liquor license. In Salem, he operates with a beer and wine license.

“It has every type of restaurant you can think of, but I don’t feel that Route 1 has a Red’s,” Drivas said. “It will be a great addition to the city of Peabody and the Route 1 area.”

The site will have 130 parking spaces and provide day and overnight parking for tractor-trailers. Among the businesses in the nearly 21,000-square-foot building will be a convenience store and motorcycle shop, Ankeles said.

But Red’s will be the primary draw.

“I hope (Drivas) gets a chance to do a bang-up job up there,” Ankeles said. “He’s a good guy, and he has a great reputation.”

Regular customers of the original Red’s need not worry. Nothing will change there, Drivas said.

The Central Street hot spot is popular among locals and visitors to Salem and has served its share of luminaries, particularly from the world of politics.

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy dined there, so has Sen. John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney and first lady Barbara Bush.

Red’s would become part of a restaurant revival on Route 1 in Peabody. A new Sonic restaurant has thrived since opening last summer.

Santarpio’s, a famous, family-run East Boston pizzeria, is transforming the former Bennigan’s restaurant on Route 1 north into its 300-seat North Shore home. The Peabody venture will be the pizzeria’s second location, after 107 years in business.

The Bel-Aire Diner went out of business in 2006.

Because of its summer recess, the council will not take up Red’s special permit application until late August.

I personally do not like that Red’s owners are planning not to use “Diner” in the name of the new restaurant. Instead of “Red’s Kitchen & Tavern” they could  name it “Red’s Kitchen & Tavern at the Bel Aire Diner”, or how about “Red’s Bel Aire Diner”, just thinking! – LAC

Thanks for the link Robert!

3 thoughts on “Bel Aire Diner to become Red’s Kitchen & Tavern

  1. So, do we know yet what will happen to the diner itself? The article does not say, other than “5000 square feet with seating for 175” which sounds bigger than the diner. I’m figuring they will demolish it (Noooo!!!) or give or sell it to someone who will move it (preferable.)

    • Glenn, the new article from the Salem News does not say but my post from April does. The long-time owners of the diner are developing the site and are going to move the diner back on the lot and incorporate it into a larger building that will house the diner business as well as the other businesses proposed. There will be a second floor above the diner. The only part of the diner you will see when it is done is the front and entryway.

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