Diners Are in Tim Dauti’s Blood

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner: The Betsy Ross Diner is busy seven days a week. By June, it should be busy in a new location.

Owner Tim Dauti has long thought the former PNC Bank building would be a great spot for a diner. Located on Berkshire Valley Road just south of the Betsy Ross’s current address, it offers several advantages.

Tim Dauti presiding over soup in the kitchen of the Betsy Ross Diner. (Photo: Jane Primerano)

“It’s always better to own than to lease,” Dauti said during a pre-lunch lull. He has owned buildings before and operated successful businesses. Driving past the bank for years, he kept thinking it would be a good diner location. The bank closed in 2016 and Dauti decided to buy the building.

The stand-alone structure features more parking and will provide easier ingress and egress for the many senior citizens who frequent the Betsy Ross, said Dauti. It is about the same size as his current space, but because of the change in use, some renovations are required. While the building is in good shape and does not need expensive work like a new roof, it lacks a kitchen and should have more windows to accommodate a restaurant. He will also open up the interior space. He hopes the work will be completed by June 2019.

“Coming soon” signs are on the former bank building that is the future home of the Betsy Ross Diner. (Photo: Jane Primerano)

The Betsy Ross serves “all-American” diner food, in spite of Dauti’s Albanian heritage. Although the menu may change slightly, he does not believe his customers want a very extensive list of options: “They don’t go to a restaurant to read a book!” The hours will also stay the same, he said, noting that his customers do not seem to want longer hours.

Of course, the name will remain. Dauti named it Betsy Ross after the first diner in which he worked, at age 15, in Waterbury, Connecticut. “I love the meaning behind the name and wanted to give my diner the same name,” he said.

After coming to New Jersey, Dauti ran a family restaurant in Butler, and then added a bakery. He also owned and operated Rock Oak Lodge in Sparta for several years.

The Betsy Ross Diner is located at 5748 Berkshire Valley Road (Ridge Plaza) in Oak Ridge.

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