The former Starlite Diner will be reopening as of Wednesday under the new name Starlite’N Poutinerie. Colin MacLean/Journa lPioneer
By Colin MacLean
SUMMERSIDE — Local gastronomes take note, the former Starlite Diner at Read’s Corner is back in business under a new owner, name and, eventually, a significantly expanded menu.
Patrick Jeno, who has purchased the long-for-sale property, says he has big plans for the business and he’s excited to finally open up to Summerside.
“I’m excited because I have a passion and love for food. I’ve been cooking since I was seven. My parents had a restaurant and I watched them cook for their whole lives. I have that in me,” said Jeno.
The diner is now The Starlite’N Poutinerie. As the name suggests, Jeno plans on taking full advantage of P.E.I.’s famed spuds.
The menu will have a wide variety. There will be the traditional diner fare, all-day breakfast and the usual but that’s where the normalcy ends.
“I want to be unique,” said Jeno. “All their French fries will be made on-site and a wide variety of toppings will be available to make different kinds of poutiness all made with cheese curds.”
He will also be introducing several southeast Asian dishes curry chicken, chicken tikka masala and so on. Again, all homemade.
He’ll also be offering a full ice cream bar year round.
All the major products sold in his restaurant will be local produce, he added, that includes bread, meat, potatoes, ice cream you name it and he’s trying to get it made locally.
Jeno is banking on offering something different to residents to set him apart from previous iterations of the Starlite and avoid their fate in the finicky local marketplace.
“My approach and my personality will change it. When I open a business, I don’t look at the money, I look at the love that I put in the food and my customer service. So if I have love and the passion that I have for cooking my business will be successful.”
Jeno himself grew up in New York and New Jersey and lived for a while in Montréal which he credits with giving him his accent, then Toronto and finally moved to Charlottetown about a year ago. He has since relocated to Summerside.
In between all that hopping around, he owned a Caribbean and Chinese restaurant in Miami, Florida, for several years.
His primary education is in various languages.
He moved to P.E.I. after his first visit here.
“I came here on vacation because I always heard people talking about P.E.I. as a good place for tourists. But (when I got here) I said, ‘I’m not a tourist this is my home now.’ This is where I want to be and I read everything about P.E.I. before I moved here I studied the maps, the population, I did all my marketing,” he said.
The Starlite and Poutinerie opened on Wednesday with a temporarily reduced menu. The restaurant will be open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.