SUMMERSIDE – Local gastronomes take note, the former Starlite Diner at Read’s Corner is back in business under a new owner, name and, eventually, a significantly expanded menu.
The former Starlite Diner will be reopening as of Wednesday under the new name Starlite’N Poutinerie. Colin MacLean/Journa lPioneer
Patrick Jeno, who has purchased the long-for-sale property, said on Tuesday he has big plans for the business and that he’s excited to finally open up in Summerside.
“I’m excited because I have a passion and love for food. I’ve been cooking since I was seven. My parents had a restaurant and I watched them cook for their whole lives. I have that in me,” said Jeno.
The diner is now The Starlite and Poutinerie.
As the name suggests, Jeno plans on taking full advantage of P.E.I.’s famed spuds.
The menu will have a wide variety. There will be the traditional diner fare like burgers, fish and chips, soups, all-day breakfast and the like – but that’s where the normalcy ends.
“I want to be unique,” said Jeno.
All their French fries will be made onsite and a wide variety of toppings will be available to make different kinds of poutines – all made with cheese curds.
Within a few weeks, he didn’t have an exact date, The Starlite will also be introducing Italian-style pizza, made from scratch, with various toppings.
He will also be introducing several southeast Asian dishes – curry chicken, chicken tikka masala and so on. Again, all homemade.
He’ll also be offering a full ice cream bar year-round.
All the major items on his menu will be made from local produce, he added, that includes bread, meat, potatoes, ice cream – you name it and he’s trying to get it made locally.
Jeno is banking on offering something different to residents to set him apart from previous iterations of the Starlite.
“My approach and my personality will change it,” he said.
“When I open a business, I don’t look at the money, I look at the love that I put in the food and my customer service. So if I have love and the passion that I have for cooking – my business will be successful,” he said.
Jeno grew up in New York and New Jersey and lived for a while in Montréal – which he credits with giving him his accent – then Toronto and finally moved to Charlottetown about a year ago. He has since relocated to Summerside.
In between all that hopping around, he owned a Caribbean and Chinese restaurant in Miami, Fla., for several years.
His primary education is in various languages.
He moved to P.E.I. after his first visit here.
“I came here on vacation, because I always heard people talking about P.E.I. as a good place for tourists. But (when I got here) I said, ‘I’m not a tourist – this is my home now.’ This is where I want to be and I read everything about P.E.I. before I moved here … I studied the maps, the population … I did all my marketing,” he said.
The Starlite and Poutinerie will be opening Wednesday, Oct. 23, with a temporarily reduced menu, at 11 a.m.
After the Wednesday launch day, the restaurant will be open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.