Knight’s Diner sold, owner retiring after 37-year run
SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s the end of an era for Knight’s Diner on North Market Street.
The owner of the iconic train car diner is retiring after a 37-year run. Vicki Green turns 70 on Friday and said her retirement is her birthday present.
“My customers have been fabulous! I’ve had people from Michigan, the East Coast, the West Coast, all around, contact me and tell me how sad they were to hear the diner was not going to be under my management anymore,” said Green. “But, I believe that the new people will form those same friendships that I’ve had for 37 years.”
The train car has had several owners since it first became a diner in the late 1940s and is even registered as a local historic landmark.
According to the Spokane Historic Preservation Office, the car was built in Pennsylvania in 1906 and served the Northern Pacific Railroad. The car had been retired in the Northern Pacific Yards in Spokane Valley, but was pressed into service during World War II as an indoctrination classroom for the war effort.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt later offered the car as a gift to a Spokane resident in appreciation of his years of voluntary service traveling the country as “Uncle Sam” in support of war effort.
In 1949, John Knight, the former headwaiter at the Davenport Hotel, renovated the car for use as a diner.
Though Green is stepping aside, new owners are already preparing to keep the legacy going. The diner will be closed for a short time while the new owners take over. They plan to re-open the train car restaurant on Labor Day.
The diner will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. before Green says goodbye.
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