You Got the Key?

Jim Orlando, Owner, B’Ville Diner

The B’Ville Diner has been a local icon since 1934. It has also been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week since that time. Located at 16 East Genesee Street, the eatery’s first iteration, Grady’s Diner, was housed in a dining car that faced on to the Morris Machine Works plant, and backed on to the late Baldwin Canal. In 1950, the Younis family purchased the business and renamed it the B’Ville Diner.

After 53 years of dependable home-style food, family-friendly service, owner Dave Younis sold the diner to Jim Orlando, who continues to run the business as a round-the-clock community commissary. Regulars create a daily rhythm by taking shifts lining the counter and tables. The early morning old-timers start the day with strong coffee and soft eggs, many returning for lunch, as well. After school lets out, ravenous students and athletes crowd around the booths to snack on milk shakes and French fries, and pump money into the tableside jukeboxes. Weary workers eat late dinners and gossip with the wait staff, while teens flirt late into the wee hours in the most classic fashion.

In deference to their 1950’s theme, the B’Ville Diner also hosts a classic car show every Thursday evening from May 1 through the end of August. Featuring classic cars from around the region, oldies on the sound system, charity raffles, and, of course, food from the Diner, the classic car show is a favorite summer happening.

Jim Orlando, Owner, B’Ville Diner

Jim was born in Lancaster, NY, and moved to Manillus with his family in seventh grade. After working in construction in Texas for 22 years, Jim took a carpentry position with a small Central New York construction company. Following a sojourn in Florida, Jim and his family moved to Baldwinsville in 1990 so that they could enjoy life on the Seneca River. In 2000 he began working on village improvement projects including developing the former Blue Water Grill and B & B Autobody shop site on Oswego Street, on the north banks of the river. His next project was Abbott’s Frozen Custard and gift shop, also on Oswego Street, near the 4 Corners, and in 2003 he purchased the B’Ville Diner. Jim loves close-knit nature of the Baldwinsville community, and he notes, “you go to the local spots and you’re never a stranger. I like that.” He hopes to open another restaurant in the near future.

The tale of the missing diner key is now legendary. After he took over ownership of the B’Ville Diner, Jim tried to close the restaurant on Christmas Eve, but he was unable to find the key because it had been so many years since the building had last been closed. He called former owner, Dave Younis, who didn’t know where the key was either. Now the key hangs on a brick in the basement. Jim hasn’t made the mistake of trying to close on Christmas since.