The loss to Redfield with the closure several months ago of the Dexfield Diner will soon be made good with the opening next week of Harvey’s Diner and Pub at 904 First St.
Friday, June 10 is the planned date for the restaurant’s soft opening, according to Katie Martinez who, together with her partner, Rick Martinez, recently bought the building from R. Joe Smith of Redfield.
The name of the diner and pub — Harvey’s — comes from Katie Martinez’s maiden name. She grew up in the Stuart and Redfield area, attended Stuart-Menlo and West Central Valley schools and now lives on the family’s six-generation Century Farm outside Redfield.
Martinez moved to New York City after high school in order to pursue a career in performance and acting. Like many another starving artist, she found a day job in the restaurant trade and eventually came to learn the workings of the business at an Italian steak house where she had “incredible teachers and wonderful chefs.”
Her 20 years in New York also brought Rick into her life. They met on or near Broadway, where she acted and he worked on the technical side of theater production. She married the native New Yorker 12 years ago, and regular trips to the Midwest have since made her urbanite husband fond of central Iowa.
“We’ve been looking at spaces and trying to figure out our path,” Katie said, “and I wanted to find a way just to honor the community I grew up in.”
Luckily, Katie said, they had “the pure joy of meeting R. Joe Smith and his charming wife, Nancy,” and she and Rick “purchased their baby from them and are making a go of Harvey’s Diner and Pub.”
The menu will feature “American comfort food,” she said, describing their chef as “really special” and his training as “very broad.” Ingredients will be locally sourced from the Redfield Locker and local farms, she said.
“We will still a diner but able to do some really special items, too,” Katie said. “We’re not drastically changing the decor at the beginning because people have loved this place for the past 17 years, and we’ll be trying some new cuisine but also bringing back some customer favorites because it’s important to honor the people that live here and have been your customers.”
High-quality food will be matched by high-quality customer service, Katie said.
“It’s all about quality, about customer service, about making people feel welcome,” she said. “Our true desire is to have a business in a community that has a need. There’s no need in New York to open another restaurant. It’s oversaturated. There’s a true need here for a restaurant. We go ’round and ’round all the time here, and we’ve got our doors open, and we’re cleaning, and people are just dying. They’re like, ‘When’s it opening?’ It’s like they’ve lost a friend.”
Katie said Harvey’s menu will include some old favorites, such as the Dexfield Diner’s prime rib, and they will be open to suggestions.
“We hope that people, when they come in, will share their favorites with us and with the chef,” she said, “and if there’s things we can incorporate into the menu, we’ll certainly try. Our passion is for food and for people and for community and for neighborhood. This pace and this lifestyle is really what we were looking for.”
Did you like this story? Please support our daily coverage of local news and sports with a one-time donation or a recurring donation of $5 per month.