Peabody's Vincenzo "Vinny" Valenti Jr. appears to have nailed it just right out of the gate.
Just three months after the doors opened and the grill fired up at the Tanner City's newest diner, the requests have been flooding in to extend the hours and expand the menu, owner Valenti says. And at 10 Margin St. will be doing just that within the next two months, the plans even include dinner service eventually.
"We get a lot of compliments on the home feel and prices," Valenti said. "Our prices are great, especially compared to everyone else's. We have good food, and good prices in a family-friendly environment. Saturdays and Sundays are packed -- everyone knows everyone in here. It has a real good feel to it."
"We've been doing outstanding," he said. "People are glad to see a breakfast place, and everyone is welcome."
The diner currently operates from 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and until 3 p.m. on the weekends. The extended hours for now will just mean the eatery is open until 3 p.m. weekdays and until 4 p.m. on weekends. Valenti plans to add dinner within the next 60 days and open until 8 p.m.
Valenti listened to customers' suggestions of what they'd like to see, and decided to add new menu items to complement the Peabody Burger, King Hot Dog and other favorites.
For example, the Boston Omelet features a wide range of flavors including peppers, onions, tomatoes, Italian sausage, jalapenos and cheddar cheese. For another spin, the diner will serve two English muffins toasted to perfection topped with Maryland crab cakes and two poached eggs, complete with Hollandaise sauce and a dash of paprika.
They've also added traditional comfort food favorites, such as a kid's menu, pigs in a blanket, chicken fingers, French fries and onion rings. And then there's Pasta Day on Wednesdays and Fish Day on Fridays.
The sign out front also boasts the "Home of the big breakfast."
The Valenti family-run restaurant opened to family and friends Saturday, March 3, which, ironically, is also Valenti's birthday, and to the public, Sunday, March 4. It had been in the .
The cozy eatery at the corner of Margin and Driscoll streets in the East End was home to for many years until that restaurant closed more than a year ago. The building was vacant until the Valentis set up shop.
Valenti and his wife now cook and own the joint while their five children serve as wait staff and cashiers.
Valenti said his wife came up with the motto: "Where meals and memories are made," which is visible from Margin Street on the restaurant's sign.
The diner seats a max of 40 guests and can park 15 cars (one of them is a handicap accessible space), and just as soon as 6 a.m. comes, it's not long before there's a line out the door, according to Valenti.
Many customers come in, they say, not just for the food, but because they enjoy knowing nearly everyone in there.
Doris Canzo, of Salem, is a regular who has tried nearly everything on the menu, especially the breakfast items. Her favorite is eggs over light with white toast and home fries on the side or a bagel sandwich with coffee. For lunch, she often orders fish, meatballs and linguine (just not all at once).
"Nothing could be finer than The Peabody Diner in the morning," she quipped, contributing her own slogan.
"The owners are very nice to customers and are excellent people," Canzo said. "I'm not just saying that. They greet them, which is very important, and ask how everything is; if it's satisfied to our liking. They're always a giver. If you don't have enough money, they'll say 'don't worry about it,' and to come back. It's a clean, neat place. I'll tell you everyone becomes friends or family here."
She also was a regular at The Bite; Canzo only lives five to 10 minutes away.
Claire Murphy, also of Salem, is a regular and friends with Canzo. Like Canzo, she orders eggs with home fries and toast as well as pancakes when they go together.
Her line to people who haven't been before is: "Follow me and I'll take you to the best breakfast/lunch place."
"It's like having a homecooked meal at the Valenti's. They have a heart of gold -- always giving out free samples. If you don't like their food, they want your honest opinion so they can fix it," she added.
Both Canzo and Murphy said they’d definitely come in for dinner once that option is available.
You can find the diner online here or call 978-854-5800 for takeout.