ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - A restaurant in north St. Louis County is expanding operations to help employees displaced by the Goody Goody Diner fire.
Matt Quinlisk, owner of Breakaway Café (8418 Natural Bridge Road) in Bel-Nor, said he never planned to open his restaurant for breakfast, but beginning Monday (Apr. 29) he will do just that. Quinlisk said he wants to help fill a void for the community and Goody Goody Diner employees who were left without work after Monday night's fire.
"It was heartbreaking," said Quinlisk. "I went down while the fire trucks were still there. My sister called me and said, 'Goody Goody's burning.'"
Quinlisk, a north St. Louis County native, said he has been eating at Goody Goody Diner for years and knows many of the employees. When the fire forced Goody Goody Diner to close indefinitely leaving its employees out of work, Quinlisk knew he could help.
He hired nine Goody Goody Diner employees to work at Breakaway Café located a few miles down Natural Bridge Rd. The nine new employees join Breakaway Café's staff of 17.
"It's been a staple for this area just like Goody Goody," said Quinlisk.
Quinlisk took over Breakaway Café in January and rehired the employees who lost their jobs when the restaurant's previous owners closed earlier that month. Breakaway Café has been serving lunch and dinner in Bel-Nor for almost 30 years.
"My absolute favorite from our Breakaway menu is the Cajun shrimp cavatelli," said Quinlisk. "We have great pizzas, we have great burgers. It's a pretty large menu, but everything is excellent."
Quinlisk said they will start serving breakfast to accommodate his expanded staff. The Breakaway Café breakfast menu will feature several items popular at Goody Goody Diner and will be served up by the cooks and servers who know that menu best.
Several of the new employees began training Wednesday (Apr. 24) morning.
Fox 2 spoke to the owners of Goody Goody Diner after the fire. They said they plan to repair and reopen, but it will take time.
In the meantime, breakfast will be served at Breakaway Café beginning Monday from 7-10:30 a.m. The lunch menu will begin at 11 a.m.