New diner opens and the community cornerstone is alive again
By Willie Kiernan
When Common Grounds closed this past Memorial Day, Cazenovia regulars knew there were changes in store for the home of Project Cafe, but Dave's Diner at Common Grounds promises to be a change for the better.
"It has been worked out so that Project Caf (c) can continue to use this space," said partner Matt Judge.
Having leased the space from Common Grounds originator Bob Hood, Judge and partner Dave Connor have agreed to co-exist with the community and Project Caf (c).
"We believe Dave's Diner is a great fit for the back end," Judge said. "And we also believe in what Project Caf (c) offers the community. In support of that, the front end will be open during the school year as it has always been."
After almost two months of behind the scenes rebuilding, Dave's Diner at Common Grounds opened up Monday at 6 a.m. and has breathed life back into the popular neighborhood eatery. Serving breakfast all day and a lunch menu in the afternoon, the diner is looking to recapture the community at large and attract new customers with its affordable offerings and capable table service. Conner, with his successful business in Manlius, has the experience to do it and Judge, with his love for the old Common Grounds, has the passion to keep it going
"The Manlius diner does very well," Connor said. "Sales have increased every year for the last eight years."
Connor, who has had a colorful past in the food industry, expects to bounce back and forth between his Manlius Diner and his new project. He is familiar with the area because he has a son and a daughter who live in Cazenovia with their families.