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WAYNE — The aromas of chili, roast beef, pie and more filled the air on Hendricks Street as Heroes Diner opened for the first time Monday, March 1.

Locals were able to enjoy home-cooked meals with friendly faces on opening day, and owner Miranda Maynard said she was pleasantly surprised with how many people showed up.

“It’s been a great turnout, and we’ve been a lot busier than expected,” she said. “It’s great to see people come out, of course, I guess I was just surprised with how many showed up.”

Maynard said she hopes people are able enjoy a good meal in a comfortable environment, and with a pool table and dart board on the ground floor, it could be a great place for children and teens to spend their free time.

Renee and JK Spence stopped by Heroes Diner for lunch on opening day and said the food was delicious. With JK indulging in Salisbury steak and Renee testing out the taco salad, both said portion size for the price was great, and they were pleased with the kind service.

Renee Spence said Wayne does not have a ton of small businesses or restaurants for residents to enjoy, so she hopes locals come out to support the new diner.

“We need small businesses like this diner especially in this town,” she said. “So, people should come in and give it a shot. They’ve got a good bit of versatility; they’ve got a little bit of everything for everybody.”

As more people came in, some customers reported waiting longer than expected to receive their orders, and some ended up asking for their meals to-go.

Maynard said some of her employees were in the restaurant for the first time on opening day, and she asked for patience from customers as they continue learning to work together and efficiently.

“Please be patient with us as we work out all the kinks and work together,” Maynard said. “We’re going to do the best we can and we just hope people stick with us and give us a chance.”

The diner serves common items such as burgers, fries and hot dogs, but customers may be surprised by the variety of choices available on the menu.

The diner will serve two home-cooked specials every day as well as the soup of the day. Some of the daily specials include open-face roast beef sandwiches, chicken and dumplings and potato soup, but there are plenty more meals to choose from.

For those concerned about COVID-19 safety precautions, customers were getting their temperatures checked as they entered, and masks were provided if needed and encouraged when not seated at a table.

Renee Spence said the diner is a place with good food and good people working to make sure everyone is safe and satisfied.

“If you’re uncomfortable coming out in public right now, the checks give you that extra sense of safety,” she said. “It’s just the nature of the beast right now, but they are taking a little bit of extra care of you at the door, and it can make people feel more secure.”

Replacing the former White House Diner, Heroes Diner is located at 712 Hendricks St. in Wayne. It is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays.

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