COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Both locations of the King's Chef Diner in downtown Colorado Springs are back open. The company held a grand reopening for their Bijou and Nevada location Wednesday after reopening their landmark castle building on Costilla in September.
"We opened the doors and at 8:00 a.m. we had people waiting already and we've just been steady all morning long," said owner Gary Geiser.
Geiser bought castle diner in 1997. It had first opened in the 1950's. He later expanded to the Bijou location in 2008 to accommodate growing demand.
"We wanted to be back open at the end of April, last month, but we had a cracked grease interceptor from being closed for so long, we had a hot water heater go out. So, a lot of little challenges that our facilities management had to get onto," he said.
Regulars already know that the breakfast burritos here have been named Tastiest Breakfast in Colorado by Food Network Magazine. But they may not know that the famous vegan, non-GMO green chile they come smothered-in has gone national. The company manufactures and sells bottles of green chile and salsa in some 500 stores around the country.
Geiser said the recipe came as a result of trial and error, getting feedback from customers through each new iteration.
"It has no flour rue in it, so it's gluten-free, there's no protein in it anymore, so it's all vegan and all-natural," he said. "Basically, it's just fresh vegetables with a little salt and pepper and we let nature take its course and get out of its way."
Geiser believes the key to his company's success is more than just good food. It's also about good service, even if it takes a little more time.
"We're not just here to get your order and get you out," he said. "So, you'll experience a little slower service with us. You know, you may even have a server sit down at your table, talk to you and that does a lot of things for us, we really want to get to know our customer base."
Those relationships run deep. He said he was overwhelmed with support from people sharing posts on Facebook and other social media sites. Many sent emails and text messages encouraging him to reopen.
"It's really heartwarming and touching," Geiser said.
The diners are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.