Chamber News

Oscar's Classic Diner named 2014 Small Business of the Year
Published: Friday, October 10, 2014
By: Susan Neill

Oscar’s Classic Diner is a family-friendly diner providing home-style classic dishes, burgers, steaks and quality American “diner” fare.  As native east-enders, owners Kurt and Lisa Mankin chose to locate on that end of town to provide more choice to this previously underserved segment in dining options.  When they created their vision in 2003, there were also very few restaurants with a theme or distinct sense of atmosphere.  Their goal upon opening was to offer a fun, retro experience filled with mid-century nostalgia and local Jefferson City history for all ages to relax and enjoy.

Kurt cherished the memories of his grandparents’ restaurant, Oscar’s Steakhouse, and wanted to create a welcoming environment for the community where special moments would be celebrated and a lifetime of memories made for all ages. 

 In January 2013, the Mankins faced an overwhelming challenge when a late night fire damaged the restaurant, requiring a complete gutting and rebuilding of everything except the block exterior and causing the restaurant to close its doors for 8 ½ months.   Kurt’s first concern was the welfare of their employees and they were able to continue supporting their staff during the rebuilding phase.  The Mankins credit their faith in God as the strength in enabling them to change their attitude from “look at all this overwhelming work ahead of us”, to “Let’s get back to where we started!”

When they re-opened, customers remarked, “It the same, but better.”  The “new” Oscar’s includes a 1,600 square foot expansion which allows for large group seating and private parties.

Although running a restaurant is an all-consuming endeavor and they have little off-premise time available, the Mankins have found other ways to support their community including their popular fundraiser night.

Congratulations to Oscar’s Classic Diner – 2014 Small Business of the Year!

Pictured:  Gregg Bexten, Hawthorn Bank - Small Business Award Sponsor
                Lisa & Kurt Mankin

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