P.J.'s Luncheonette to Close after 30 years, Jack Flaps to Expand Brand to Downtown

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It’s the end of an era for P.J.'s Luncheonette (530 Euclid Ave., 216-861-2475), the no-frills breakfast and lunch diner in the Colonial Arcade. For 34 years, owners Gene and Odie have been dishing up 3-dollar breakfasts, cheeseburger deluxes with fries, and grilled liver and onions to an appreciative and loyal set of downtown customers. That all will end in the next few weeks.

While sad, the story does have a silver lining.

The business is being purchased by Randy Carter, the chef-owner of Jack Flaps (3900 Lorain Ave., 216-961-5199, jack-flaps.com) in Ohio City. The official transfer of ownership could happen in as little as two weeks, he says, so now is your time to go in, say goodbye to Gene, and enjoy one last meal at the counter.

“I’ve been talking to Gene and he told me that he really wants to retire,” explains Carter, adding that the owner still works the line every day. “He said, ‘I’m ready.’”

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Carter said that he’ll close the diner only briefly to ready it for his new restaurant, which will officially be called Jack Flaps Luncheonette at Fifth Street Arcades.

“It shouldn’t take more than a month to reopen it,” he says.

When it does reopen, it will feature a new layout with bar (and hopefully liquor license). The morning menu will resemble that of Jack Flaps, with quirky breakfast items built around pancakes and waffles. At lunch time, Carter will roll out more traditional American-style diner foods, he says, building off the three-plus decades of tradition under his feet. New for both PJ’s and Jack Flaps, however, is the happy hour and dinner service, which will be geared toward the growing downtown residential market. That menu, adds Carter, is still a work in progress.

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