Lydia Valenti
The Redmond Spokesman

Flag City Diner

Location: 323 NW Sixth Street

Call: 541-548-5954

Website: bit.ly/2DdJOYe

Hours: 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Monday, closed Tuesdays.

Food: Burgers, sandwiches and salads for $8.99-$10.99, breakfasts for $8.99-$12.99. A senior menu has items from $7.99.

Downtown Redmond has been home to a series of restaurants in a tiny little building, on SW Sixth Street, just south of SW Dogwood Avenue. The latest to close its doors was Cozy Cafe — a move that left waitress and restaurant manager Jenny Sammons out of a job.

Jenny saw the opportunity and with the help of family and friends, she and her husband, Cory, opened the building’s doors again in July, this time as the patriotic-themed Flag City Diner. After more than 25 years in the food industry, owning a restaurant had been a longtime dream, she said.

“It really fell into our laps,” said Cory, who now works as the diner’s waiter.

Jenny runs the diner’s kitchen and has worked in the food industry since she was 14, doing everything from wash dishes to cook and manage restaurants, she said.

Their menu is breakfast and lunch comfort food — with eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, as well as sandwiches, hamburgers and salads. They have a few surprises on the menu as well, such as honey Sriracha Brussels sprouts.

“I hate Brussels sprouts,” said Cory, “but the way she makes them, they’re good.”

Jenny said she wants to serve good homestyle food that makes people think of weekend breakfasts and the taste of fresh bacon. Jenny sources as locally as she can for the diner, with meat from Cinder Butte Meats and Oregon Beef, and many of their fruits and vegetables coming from High Desert Produce.

Jenny, who describes herself as a “home cook,” said her biggest culinary influence was her grandmother who was from the south.

“She taught me to cook,” she said. “I carry a lot of that in my food. It’s good comfort food.”

The Sammons’ hope for the restaurant is that it will be a place that brings people together.

Jenny and Cory both grew up in Terrebonne going to Sun Spot Drive-In. They want to create a similar casual hometown diner feel to their place, something they say Redmond needs.

“All the locals came to the restaurant and everybody knew everybody and all the locals just talked,” Jenny said.

The diner is small — just five tables inside — which lends itself to the idea of people meeting up for a chat. Jenny wants people to enjoy good food and good conversation — whether they came together or happened to meet for the first time.

“If it was up to me, I’d just put three long tables in here and have everybody sit together,” Jenny said, “but I know that wouldn’t work. This day in age, people have too many anxiety attacks.”

For the Sammons, building community expands beyond their four walls.

“I believe that your community supports you, so we need to support our community as much as we can,” Jenny said.

The Sammons started a toy drive for foster kids last year around Christmas, which Cozy Cafe hosted, and they are excited to expand that this year.

The couple had decided to forego buying Christmas presents for each other after hearing about the needs of foster kids in the area from Jenny’s sister who works at DHS. Then they came up with the idea to have a toy drive at the diner and the community really responded, Cory said.

“We did 118 gifts last year,” Jenny said.

This year the couple is hoping to be able to give to foster kids in Redmond, Madras and Prineville through the toy drive.

They plan to host a spaghetti feed for the toy drive during two weekends in December. People who bring a gift for a foster child will receive a free spaghetti dinner.

Jenny said she wants the community to come to the diner and feel good — and to feel good about what they are doing for the community.

“We have big dreams. We would like to do some scholarships, support 4-H,” she said.

The diner already offers a veterans discount and a senior menu.

— Reporter: 541-548-2185, lvalenti@redmondspokesman.com

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