Easthampton Diner Serves Local Community with a Smile


Now that we’re halfway through the year, many students like to eat out and change up their meal plans, and the Easthampton Diner provides a great place to bring the community together.
The restaurant has been around for 22 years at 117 Union Street, and it supports of a close knit family of workers. There are seven servers, four cooks, and two dishwashers. There may be few of them, but everyone has their own role.
Rachel, the manager for the past year, said, “When you work in a business like this, you are with your coworker more than your family. It is very important to work as a team. If you don’t have a team you don’t have anything.” [Rachel preferred to use only her first name.]
The restaurant targets all walks of life. Many find the diner a convenient place to talk and hang with friends while getting a good meal.
Gavin Akroyd, Williston Northampton senior from Lenox, Mass. said,” there are a lot of great brunch options to choose from. Its always great to go and just chill with friends.”
Michael Mailloux, a Williston math teacher, who grew up in Northampton said, “We used to out to a restaurant on Sunday nights, the diner was always on the short list of places we would go to.” Mailloux added, “It was never an unfriendly environment, everyone was always kind.”
Not only is the crew kind, but the resturant will accommodate to the best of their abilities.
“The restaurant serves everything,” Rachel said. “If it’s not on the menu we can make it. From pizza to Italian to Greek food we have it all.”
The restaurant workers genuinely enjoy making people, and especially kids, smile. Often for the younger kids, they make smiley and Mickey Mouse pancakes
The expansive menu also caters to those with a more selective taste and provides a variety of food so everyone can enjoy something.
Pippa Berry, a senior from Longmeadow, said, “I get grilled cheese every time because I’m a picky eater and there’s comfort in knowing it will be the same each time.”
The owner, Ahmet Ilbic, known as “Boss” by employees and regulars, is determined please everyone so no one ever feels unwelcomed.
It is also apparent after speaking to Ilbic for a less than a minute that the respect and love the employees have for him, he gives back in return.
“He is a very very generous and genuine man,” Rachel said. “He always helps and works right there with us. If we every need anything he will help us as fast as possible.
Ahmet Ilbic and his sister-in-law, Emiena, came to the U.S. from Turkey and were quickly inspired to open a restaurant, calling it a “good business opportunity.”
Since the opening of the restaurant, the Easthampton Diner has lived up to Ilbic’s aspirations. It also very obvious the pride they have for the restaurant and the amount of care and passion that goes into it.
“I’ve worked in many places, been doing this since I was 12,” Rachel said. “I graduated culinary arts and kept on working. The Easthampton Diner is the cleanest, and has the most organized family-oriented employees I have ever worked with. I’m talking even the basement is Spic and Span.”
The restaurant runs as smoothy as it does, Rachel said, because everyone has a task to do and is constantly working.
Behind the scenes there is, “cutting and prepping, dishwashing, stalking food and breaking down material and many other things to do,” said Rachel. “There is always something to do. If you are sitting down then there is definitely something to do.”
Not only do some of the employees deal with long days and a busy schedule, but the type of customers they deal with can be exhausting.
“Our host is 17 and one time she got screamed at over blue cheese, it was ridiculous,” said Rachel. “There was also a time when a group of high school boys racked up a bill over $150 and they didn’t leave a single tip. Those tips are what we live on.”
However, there are several customers and regulars who will light up all of employees’ days.
“We have a little five-year old boy, Aiden, he will walk in screaming, ‘Hi Rachel, Hi Debb!’ They come here all the time,” Rachel said.
The diner has a lot of regulars and clientele that come to talk with servers on a regular basis.
“We know all of our regulars’ names and they will come in at certain times during the day to see certain people because they begin to know us as well,” Rachel said. “And when we are not here they will be disappointed and ask where we were. Its really rewarding when you have those types of connections.”
It is also evident the entire crew genuinely cares about each other and their customers. When one of their co-workers was unwell the rest of the staff brought her food. In regards to their customers, Rachel said, “I’m not going to sell you something I wouldn’t eat myself. I will be honest because I want you to enjoy your experience while you are here.”
All of the employees are extremely hardworking and kind, which is why is it even more important to leave a good tip, because they truly do pour their hearts out when working.
The owner, Ilbic, also has an eye for art. When walking in and looking at the brick walls, you may notice several paintings and drawings. They range from landscapes to wine and views of the ocean. The beauty in the art is they are all created by local artists, many of whom frequent the diner as well.
The Easthampton Diner is open from 7-8:30pm. They also do DoorDash Thursday through Sunday.