For Jeff Hall, it’s been a month of questions.
As one of the owners of Hall’s restaurants, he’s had to tell numerous customers who stop-in to the venerable Bluffton Road restaurant, exactly what’s going on at the diner, and why it’s been closed for the last month.
Renovation construction on the time-honored favorite is moving ahead, but more slowly than management anticipated, so the restaurant at 1502 Bluffton Road has been closed recently.
But, no worries. Folks will be enjoying their Big Buster hamburgers again soon enough, according to Hall.
The original plan was for renovation work to build six vehicle slots outside the restaurant for drive-up service – two wings outside the building, essentially, for cars to pull up and order from the Hall’s menu. Plans also called for new booths, tabletops, chairs, and new lighting in the dining rooms. They also wanted to install new tile in the restrooms, and apply a fresh coat of paint to the building’s exterior.
Originally, all this was to be done while keeping the business open. But as the work dragged on and became more delayed, the owners decided to close the restaurant while the renovations were finishing.
According to Hall, the work was much needed. “It was long overdue for that location,” he said. “There haven’t been any major renovations there since the 1980s.”
The work will also install a new walk-up window on the north side, where customers can order from the outside of the building. Hall said with his restaurant’s close proximity to the Waynedale trail that runs across the Bluffton Road bridge and near Quimby Village, customers will be able to stop for a quick snack while walking, biking, or jogging the new trails.
As for the cost of the work? Hall cagily said they weren’t really sure what the total cost was at this point, only admitting it was more than was originally estimated. “You got to pay as you play with this kind of stuff,” he said, “that’s just reality.”
Those running the restaurant are also toying with the idea of new items for the time-honored menu, though Hall offered his assurances that all the old favorites – such as the Big Buster hamburger – would remain.
He said the new foods weren’t exactly on the front burner right now. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” he said, referring to the continuing construction work.
Although the main restaurant has been closed while work is finishing up, the fast-food take-out Hall’s Food Factory next door has remained open if folks really were craving their Hall’s favorites.
Hall estimates that work will finish up – and the restaurant will reopen – sometime after the 4th of July holiday.
“It took a lot longer than we thought,” Hall said, “but we’re resolved to do it right. And we’ll be there when we’re there.”