Carol Thompson and Mike Wilson opened 59 Diner at 106 First Ave. N.E. in Gravette near the end of July, and diners from Gravette and the surrounding area have given them a warm reception.
Thompson said they are "very pleased," and Wilson agreed business has been better than they expected.
The couple spent several months remodeling the building since it had been closed for some time. They built a front counter, repainted the entire dining area and installed trim. Three TVs were installed, and diners can keep up with the news or their favorite athletic team as they enjoy a meal.
Thompson and Wilson live in rural Sulphur Springs. Both are Northwest Arkansas natives and have many family ties in the area. She grew up in Decatur and graduated from high school there while her son and daughter graduated from Gravette High School. Her brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Beth Patton of Maysville, are managers of the Gravette Farmers Market. Wilson was born in Bentonville, but his family moved to Decatur when he was still a preschooler, and he attended Decatur schools through ninth grade. His father was chief of police in Decatur during those years.
The couple has several years of experience in the restaurant business. They were owners of the Gallery Cafe in Decatur from 2012 until they sold it to one of their employees in 2020. Thompson worked there as a waitress a few years before purchasing the cafe. They were working long hours at the Gallery and managing a staff of 15 and found little free time for themselves.
Selling the Decatur cafe and purchasing the location in Gravette was appealing because they have a smaller building to maintain, a shorter drive to work, and they are working fewer hours. Open hours for 59 Diner are 10:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday through Wednesday.
The menu at 59 Diner focuses on what the owners describe as "good ol' home-cookin'." Their popular dinner plates include ribeye steak, fried shrimp, country-fried steak, grilled chicken, pork chop and chicken-strip meals. All are served with a dinner salad, vegetable, choice of potato and a dinner roll. Other dinner choices are chef's salad, grilled or crispy chicken salad and a tater supreme -- a baked potato loaded with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, shredded cheese and a choice of turkey, ham or bacon.
A variety of sandwiches is available for those who want to eat a bit lighter. Sandwiches offered include a Cubano, patty melt, BLT, cheesesteak and chicken cheesesteak, grilled cheese, Reuben, chicken-fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, grilled chicken and ham and turkey club. They serve hamburgers, cheeseburgers with a variety of cheese available, bacon cheeseburgers, Swiss bacon mushroom burgers, American wagyu and turkey burgers. All burgers are served with chips.
Diners desiring an accompaniment to their main meal choice can order from a side menu that includes fries, chive fries, fried mushrooms, tater tots, fried pickles, cheese curds, side salad, baked potato and mashed potatoes with gravy. The youngsters are not forgotten. They can order from a kids' menu featuring hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, corn dogs, chicken bites and a grilled pizza sandwich -- all served with Cheezits or fries.
A variety of soft drinks, tea and coffee are served and, if one has any room for dessert, the dessert case usually contains blackberry or peach cobbler, cheesecake and several flavors of pies.
Operating 59 Diner is a family affair. Thompson and Wilson are assisted by several family members, and the family invites all in the area to come in, get acquainted and enjoy a good meal.
Questions or takeout? Call (479) 787-8822.