Paul Markert, Jr. and Scott Edwards, new owners of the Cross Keys Diner

Paul Markert, Jr. and Scott Edwards, new owners of the Cross Keys Diner

When the Cross Keys Diner in Doylestown went dark last summer, its regulars were shaken. So abrupt had been the closing, people couldn’t help but worry about the owners, Steve Auslander and Ann Boyer, though they’d promised things would return to normal soon.

As the weeks then months passed, thoughts turned more selfish. How could this Doylestown landmark, in business for over ten years, suddenly evaporate from our lives? What would we do for lunch? For weekend breakfasts? Don’t even mention some of the alternatives. Chain restaurants aren’t diners.

Then a whisper of a rumor began. Someone was buying the diner. Although it took a little longer than expected (restaurant openings always do), the Cross Keys Diner reopened on November 24th. At the helm are Paul Markert, Jr. – a line cook at the diner for the last eight months – and Scott Edwards, a friend and culinary colleague of many years.

Paul and Scott have worked together at the Carversville Inn and the Centre Bridge Inn. Although both have backgrounds in fine dining, they’ve always loved the Cross Keys.  “I have loved this place from the very beginning,” says Paul, whose sister Amanda Markert has worked there for six years. Before joining the diner’s staff, “I used to be a regular,” he notes.  Scott, too, had a regular spot at the counter.

That’s all fine and good, but as a regular myself I wanted to know more about who they were, and their “philosophy” of diner eating. Were things going to change?

After the diner reopened a few weeks ago, Mark and I had breakfast there. As we settled in at the counter, we glanced around, checking things out. After studying the menus, the specials board, even the crowd, we turned to each other with the same conclusion: Nothing had changed.

That’s pretty much the way Paul and Scott intended it. They recognize the value of the trade Steve and Ann had built up over the years. “Most of our business is regular, so when we went into it, one of our main focuses was to keep the regulars happy,” says Scott.

“Our main idea is to try to get the place running the way it was and then go from there,” adds Paul. The menu is the same, just reprinted. The produce vendor, Amoroso breads and rolls, Ellis True Blue coffee (“We didn’t want to touch the coffee; the coffee’s wonderful here.”), and Haring Brothers meats are all the same. Even Nancy MacNamara and Amanda are working the tables, clearly happy to be back themselves.

“We wanted people to feel, ‘we’re back home again.'”

Like the previous owners, Paul and Scott will introduce new items through the eclectic specials board. A new menu may come in the summer, incorporating past “specials” into the regular lineup to make room for new Blue Plate specials and diner comfort food. And: A dinner menu may be in the future.

Among the changes Scott and Paul have made: The home fries are homemade now, and the french toast has been upgraded to Challah French Toast (made with Jewish egg bread).

Reassured that my old diner was back, I asked how things were going. Was business good? How did the opening go?

Paul and Scott laughed at the question. “It was like turning over an old car that hadn’t been run or maintained for five months” says Paul. “Everything broke,” recounted Scott. “The coke machine – eight times. The dish machine, the ‘Good Eats’ sign. The coffee wasn’t right. And the sink just broke today.”

But business is good. On their first day, no advertising, they hosted 160 customers. “We’ve been very fortunate,” Paul says. “Everyone’s been great. Everyone seems to be really happy.”

Cross Keys Diner on Urbanspoon

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10 Responses to Home Again at the Cross Keys Diner

  1. […] of our favorite places is the Cross Keys Diner, which recently reopened after a five month hiatus. Here, too, we usually settle in at the counter, where we can read the paper, chat with the wait […]

  2. Paul Markert says:

    Thank you for posting this great article about the Diner!

    Its nice how you wrote about the french toast and home fries…Thanks for the french toast ideas!

    Can we get a reshoot of the picture lol!

    We look forward to seeing you soon!

    Thank you again,
    Paul and Scott

  3. Karen Markert says:

    The Diner couldn’t be in better hands! It is great to be able to say, “I know the owner!” While I may be prejudiced because it is my nephew and niece working there, they are doing a fabulous job and we are thrilled that the customers have come back and business is booming. Paul and Scott are very talented and under their helm, the Diner will continue for another 10 years and beyond!

    Keep the “good eats” coming!

  4. Joan & Robert Fuller says:

    We are so happy for both Paul and Scott as they begin this new venture as Business Partners. Goods Eats Diner has been a favorite of ours for decades and we were saddened when the doors closed over the summer. The plans for them to buy the Diner started to take shape over the next few months and we waited with great anticipation for the doors to re-open.

    We are thrilled for Amanda and Nancy as well. Nice to see their welcoming faces again, serving up the specials of the day as well as piping hot, delicious coffee. The whole team – in and out of the kitchen – are working together beautifully.

    Coming through the front door is like coming home. You know you’ll be greeted by friendly faces; an aroma that gets your taste buds moving and a meal that will put a smile on your face. It’s a little slice of heaven, whether we are sitting at a table with friends and family or grabbing a couple of seats at the counter for a quick bite. So glad we’ve been able to share in all the excitment.

    Wishing you continued success. Looking forward to lots of “Good Eats” for many years to come!

    Love,
    Aunt Joan, Uncle Robert & Cameron

  5. Kathleen Boucher says:

    Over the holidays we organized a number of family members for a breakfast together at the diner. We couldn’t have chosen a better place for our little celebration. There were fourteen of us, including children and the staff at the diner could not have been more accomodating. Not only did they make sure that we were all seated together they even provided a number of special orders for the kids with pleasure.

    The food was delicious, the service exceptional and the atmosphere like being home.

    We hope to make this an annual event!

  6. […] series about good, local places to eat breakfast (and usually lunch). See our past review of the Cross Keys Diner in Doylestown, […]

  7. Maria Pesavento Shevchik says:

    So happy for you Paul :) Please tell your sister that I have been trying to get in touch with her for the past 3 years….Maria

  8. […] mornings. Good specials. Check the blackboard. Say hi to Amanda and Nancy for us. Read more at our previous post. East Swamp Road (near intersection of Rtes. 611 and 313) Doylestown, PA PH: 215.348.4911 Web: no […]

  9. […] mornings. Good specials. Check the blackboard. Say hi to Amanda and Nancy for us. Read more at our previous post. East Swamp Road (near intersection of Rtes. 611 and 313) Doylestown, PA PH: 215.348.4911 Web: no […]

  10. […] Home Again at the Cross Keys Diner  This was one of the first pieces we wrote, just after Scott Edwards and Paul Markert took over the landmark diner in Doylestown in December 2008. […]

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