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Newellstown Diner reopens

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Terra Butler, third from left, new co-owner of Newellstown Diner in St. Clairsville celebrates the ribbon-cutting for its grand reopening Monday with St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy Anderson and Shelly Smedley, general manager of Wheeling Coffee and Spice, back, providing coffee for the diner. Belmont County Commissioners J.P. Dutton, from left, Josh Meyer and Jerry Echemann, right, welcome them.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A downtown restaurant is open for business again, and local leaders hope this is a sign of a return to normalcy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Newellstown Diner held its grand reopening and ribbon cutting Monday, enjoying the enthusiasm of neighboring businesses and passersby. One noticeable change to the establishment is that the interior music is now pumped outside as well.

The diner has been reopened for a little longer than a month. Terra Butler, who is also a St. Clairsville councilwoman, is the new co-owner along with T.J. Stewart, who has long been a partner in the diner and a city police officer.

This is Butler’s first venture as a business owner, but she has experience in the restaurant business.

“I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years and the opportunity came up to take over half of it,” she said.

“Since we’ve opened, we’ve had good crowds in here. All of our regulars of course came back, and our business has been relatively really good,” she said. “People are loving it. It’s the same diner as before. … We wanted to keep the diner going just as it was, and make it better.”

Shelly Smedley, general manager of the nearby Wheeling Coffee and Spice location, was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Wheeling Coffee and Spice also has a stake in the diner.

“The partnership between us has been absolutely wonderful. We provide the machine for them. They buy the coffee from us,” she said. “A lot of publicity. … It’s just been a great partnership.”

Butler said the eatery has several events planned for the week and the near future.

“We’ve been planning some fun things that we can involve our residents and our customers,” she said.

As part of Chamber of Commerce Week in the city, from 8-10 a.m. Wednesday the diner will serve coffee and doughnuts with members of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce. A “happy hour” will be held 4-6 p.m. Friday with “boozy” milkshakes.

Butler also is organizing a car show to be held along Main Street.

“If it’s not this Sunday, it’ll be in (one of) the next couple coming,” she said. “It’s still a plan in progress.”

St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy Anderson was also on hand Monday. She continues to work with and promote area businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been a great reaction. People are hungry to be back to normal, and it’s so cool to be able to walk up town … and see this place packed, to see people coming in and out and walking down the street with coffee in their hands,” Anderson said.

Butler thanked the chamber and other businesses for their help and encouragement.

“We’ve had a ton of help,” she said.

Monday marked the first day of Chamber of Commerce Week. Other planned events include Coffee and Connections Thursday at the J.B. Martin Recreation Center from 8-9:30 a.m. For more information, call the chamber office at 740-695-9623.

Anderson added that Flatiron Coffee, formerly based in Wheeling, is now at Three Labs Salvage at 142 W. Main St. She said other businesses such as Lux Boutique have been active during Food Truck Fridays, held at 11 a.m. Fridays.

“There’s so much going on around St. Clairsville. That is so exciting,” Anderson said.

“It’s very exciting,” Commissioner Josh Meyer agreed.

“It’s a small step toward normalcy and the way life was pre-pandemic,” Commissioner Jerry Echemann added.

The diner is located at 145 W. Main St. Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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