BRISTOL – Krishna Naha, the new owner of Crystal Diner, will keep the menu that customers have enjoyed for 50 years while expanding to be open seven days a week and for dinner hours.
Naha, who took over the diner at 43 Main St. from previous owners Alex and Salma Hamzy this Tuesday, said that he previously worked for 17 years at the local Taco Bell, including positions as general manager, executive manager and market training manager. He said that he had always wanted to run his own restaurant.
“I’ve heard good things about Crystal Diner from a lot of customers,” he said. “People love the home fries, the waffles, the specials and the customer service. We’re not changing anything with the menu – only the hours of operation. We’ll be open for dinner hours in two or three months after I’ve hired and trained some new people. The employees working here now are very good with the customers and we want that for the new staff as well. I like to talk to customers that come in. If we do anything wrong, let me know and we’ll fix it.”
Naha said that he ultimately plans to have Crystal Diner’s hours be Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Another minor change is that he hopes to put up a large menu display on the wall behind the counter.
Crystal Diner has been in Bristol for 51 years and was previously located on North Main Street before moving to its current location 16 years ago. Naha said that if all goes well, he is eyeing opening a second location in Southington, then two more in Farmington and Berlin.
On Friday, Naha went out of his way to meet longtime customers as they stopped in for food. He smiled, shook their hands, introduced himself and made conversation.
Albert, “Sarge”, Bettua, who has been coming to Crystal Diner for 16 years, remarked that Naha was “very nice” and “not afraid to talk to you.”
“He’s very nice and I’m glad that he’s keeping the menu the same,” said Bettua. “I’ve been coming here since they came here – I remember there used to be a pinball machine. My niece also comes in for breakfast.”
Bettua served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Germany in 1950 after World War II. He left the service as an Assistant Operations Sergeant – hence his nickname. He also had two brothers in the U.S. Air Force and another in the U.S. Army.
Brenda Sukatski, who has been a waitress at the diner for nine years, also said Naha is “very nice.”
“Anything we need or ask for he gets,” she said. “I’m very happy with him; I like him.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.