Currently languishing in a field in Irish Hill, a classic chrome diner dating to 1952 is in need of a comeback. There are no plans to restore the art-deco structure built by Mountain View Diners of New Jersey, but owner Mose Putney hopes someone interested in taking on the project can be found.
Putney has long been a fan of diners and the casual, open nature of the restaurant type where a banker can be found eating next to a bum. He said his Kentucky Diner could bring the great age of diners to Louisville with the right location and a little work.
This diner originated in Milwaukee where it was called Karter’s Diner and operated around the clock for 35 years. A large “K” is still imprinted on the floor, leading Mose to unofficially dub the building the Kentucky Diner. When the original establishment lost its land lease, the building was sold at auction and later was purchased by Putney and brought to Louisville about 15 years ago. Original plans to develop a diner on Lexington Road fell through and now its future is uncertain.
Putney believes timing for such a diner project is better now and has been searching for a developer and a location. It’s easy to think of many places where this diner would fit in well, and Mose has looked everywhere from Downtown to New Albany to the East Market Corridor. It was even considered at one point as a possible fixture in Waterfront Park.
There are challenges to get the project moving. Mose does not want to take on the project himself but would like to find an arrangement that could get the diner in working order. He admits finding a restaurateur with backing for a diner can be tricky. In the end, Putney says the building may look rough now, but one day it could become a great Louisville establishment.