By Steve Dreyer
The Chicken Pie Diner will be closing its doors on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Arthur Pearl has owned the 1950s-styled family restaurant with his wife, Mimi, for the past 21 years. He said Monday the decision to close came after the restaurant’s pending sale to a new owner fell through.
The Target center’s ownership has leased the space for a Luna Grill, which should be open in a couple of months, Pearl said. The new restaurant will serve Mediterranean faire, he said.
The Chicken Pie Diner was one of its first tenants when the center opened in September 1991. The Pearls purchased it the following October.
While the menu was built around the made-from-scratch chicken pies, the restaurant was also known for its chicken fingers, tuna melts, hamburgers served on “ugly” buns and hand-made milkshakes that were often holiday themed.
Pearl said his chicken soup was so well known that customers would often stop by for a to-go order that they would deliver to patients staying at Pomerado Hospital.
Memorabilia from the period covered the walls and shelves of the restaurant and classic rock and roll music was always playing. (Pearl said the memorabilia will be for sale.)
The restaurant was especially popular with young families and seniors, Pearl said.
“We had years of loyal customers, and some started as toddlers and are now graduating college,” he said.
The parking lot outside the diner was the stage for regular classic car shows. The Pearls were strong supporters of schools, churches and community groups and the restaurant’s chicken mascot, riding in a pink Chrysler PT Cruiser, was frequently seen at local parades and events.
“Our mission statement was to be a friendly neighborhood diner, serving classic comfort food and family prices in a fun atmosphere,” Pearl said. “We fulfilled our mission.”
The Pearls live in Rancho Bernardo and plan to stay active in retirement.
“First, I’m going to sleep late, a lot,” he said.