West Richland diner reopens under new ownership, new name

A longtime West Richland diner once named for Jamie McCallum is now owned by Jamie himself, and the first order of business was changing the restaurant’s name – to honor his young daughter with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Jamie and his wife, Frances, launched Lil’ Moon Diner at 3790 W. Van Giesen St. in the space that housed JD Diner for more than 15 years.

Originally named for Jamie Daniel by his mother, the diner across from Brick House Pizza had other owners along the way who retained the name until the diner closed in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The young couple saw it as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to lease it from Jamie’s mother and moved from Vancouver, Washington, to restart the restaurant as a legacy for their firstborn, a toddler named Lilia Moon.

“She went through a year of chemo, radiation and surgeries and went into remission for a little bit, and then we found out it had come back, and it’s all through her body,” Frances said.

“They’ve given her a year, tops,” Jamie said.

“She lost motor function on the left half of her body, but it’s so cute watching her run through the restaurant,” Frances said. “She loves pickles and so we put those on the menu.”

Also on the menu is an array of burgers, sandwiches, homemade soups, breakfast items and desserts.

“We added more burgers and sandwiches than before and we still plan on extending our menu,” Frances said. “We want to see what our clientele is going to be first.”

The couple intends to lean into the diner aspect with a range of milkshakes, sundaes and banana splits. Many items on the breakfast menu cost about $8-$10 and it’s a little more for lunch.

The McCallums say a standout item is the Big Moon Burger with a 6-inch bun and 12 ounces of their ground beef mix, which includes short ribs and brisket.

The couple took possession of the building in late April and have been cleaning, repairing and prepping the space while working on all the necessary paperwork and inspections to start serving the public again.

“It’s a heck of a time to open a restaurant,” Frances said.

They each have experience in the food industry, including cooking, serving and hosting, but this will be their first time running a business.

“I remember washing dishes when I was 9 to earn money for the arcade,” Jamie said.

The diner seats about 75.

The McCallums removed the former banquet room and hope to eventually add outdoor seating. After hearing feedback about the previous diner’s operations, the couple aim to get food out quickly, but they also understand there will be growing pains that come with a new business.

The family-oriented restaurant also employs family to run the front and back of the house, a helpful arrangement for the couple who also have a 16-month-old son, Logan.

“We hope to eventually be able to do a fundraiser here for an organization that helped her,” Frances said. “We are so glad to have a place to start fresh and make something memorable with Lilia’s name. It was a hard decision and I’m glad we did it.”

Lil’ Moon Diner: 3790 W. Van Giesen St., West Richland. Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The diner is also available on local delivery services, including Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash; Lilmoondiner.square.site.

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