The property at the corner of East San Antonio Street and Union Avenue has a long history, evolving from a bowling alley to a grocery store to multiple restaurants.
In 2000 it became Union Street Station, and when John and Sandra Stevens purchased the restaurant in July 2015, they renamed it Union Station Diner. John came from the manufacturing industry but said he saw many similarities between that and the restaurant industry.
“I wanted to exit the corporate world, and I felt like my experiences and strengths played into this industry pretty well,” he said.
The restaurant has received multiple local awards and recognitions through the years. The owners say customers enjoy the good service; the hometown feel; and, of course, the food.
“I’ve never had anything I don’t like,” customer Emmy Allen said.
Employees said they enjoy working at the restaurant as well. One of the diner’s cooks, Deby Welty, has been with the restaurant for four years.
“I love the camaraderie with a small group of people. We are actually able to get to know each other,” Welty said.
Upon purchasing the diner, John devised a set of five core values for the restaurant, and he said he and his employees come back to those values in everything they do.
The No. 1 core value is to delight the customers. John said employees do their best to give every patron an amazing experience, even during peak hours. They also focus on growth, not only growth of the business but the individuals within it.
John also believes in taking and sharing risks and rewards with every decision he makes. When searching for new employees, John looks for integrity, which is another of their core values.
“We need to tell the truth to each other and to our customers,” John said. “If we make a mistake, we want to tell them we’re sorry.”
Last but not least, John said he wants his restaurant to maintain a culture of respect.
By focusing on these core values, Stevens said the business has expanded its hours and is considering opening a second location.
Union Station Diner
512 E. San Antonio St.,
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Sun. 7 a.m.-3 p.m.