Brint’s Diner, famous not only for its 2007 inclusion on Guy Fieri’s show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” but also for operating inside a Valentine diner, is closing on Sunday after eight years in business.
Jessie Medina bought the business at 4834 E. Lincoln and opened it in June of 2004 inside a metal, mass produced Valentine Diner. About 2,000 of the buildings were made by Wichita’s Valentine Manufacturing between 1938 and 1971, and architecture buffs are still passionate about them. Brint’s first opened in 1960.
In 2007, the Diner was featured on Fieri’s Food Network show. At the time, the show was just about to debut.
Attention from that episode kept the diner alive, Medina said, but recent construction around the area has devastated it. His entryway has been blocked by construction crews, he said, and the down economy hasn’t helped. He hopes to reopen Brint’s somewhere in the area, preferably in a less tucked-away location with better street visibility.
Brint’s Diner will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and will close at the end of business on Sunday. For more information, call 316-684-0290.
Keep reading for the article we published after Fieri’s visit in 2007.
DAILY SPECIAL: HISTORY BRINT’S DINER ON FOOD NETWORK
March 2, 2007
By Karen Shideler
The Wichita Eagle
Brint’s Diner is the kind of place where the food is good and everyone is family. Well, everyone except one Guy who showed up before the sun came up Thursday with cameras, microphones, clipboards and a vintage red Camaro convertible.
The Guy was Guy Fieri, host of the Food Network’s “Guy’s Big Bite,” who brought a crew with him to film a segment for a new Food Network show he’ll host called “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” It will debut in April, and each episode will begin with Fieri pulling up in the Camaro.
The microphones and cameras didn’t seem to get in the way of pancakes, eggs and coffee for the regulars, most of whom seemed not to notice the hubbub.
“It’s not just the food, and not just the diner,” but the story behind a restaurant, Fieri said during a break, having given up on connecting by phone with his 10-year-old back in California.
For Brint’s, that means a history that dates to 1960, when Hunt’s Diner opened. Current co-owner Sandi Sammons said she’s been told the Brincefield family bought the restaurant from the original owner but couldn’t afford a whole new sign, so they substituted their “Bri” for the “Hu,” giving birth to the diner’s name.
The diner is tucked behind an auto parts store and a bakery outlet just east of Lincoln and Oliver.
Jessie Medina took over in June 2004; his cousin was Sammons’ roommate, and Sammons would sometimes pitch in. That September, Medina and Sammons started dating, “and we’ve been inseparable ever since,” she said.
Sammons’ daughter, Stefanie, and Medina’s great-niece, Diedra Hart, are waitresses, adding to that family feel.
That’s the kind of story that executive producer David Page – a former Wichitan – teases out in choosing which places to feature, Fieri said.
“This is probably the best example of a diner that anybody could get to see,” he said. “And Jessie really is a chef. . . . It’s diner food, but it’s good diner food.”
A film crew shot the background material a week ago, Fieri said, so Thursday was devoted to interaction with customers and action in the kitchen.
Sammons introduced Fieri to Glena Buggs, a regular who was a Brint’s waitress for 31 years. “I offered her her job back, but she wouldn’t take it,” Sammons said.
Fieri checked in with Eddie Jaso, who grew up with Medina and pulled out a photo of them in a band.
“That was almost 35 years ago,” Jaso said, pointing out the two of them. He said he was glad to see his old friend finally get a restaurant of his own: “If you go out to eat with him, he keeps sending the food back.”
Fieri checked in at the kitchen, asking Medina to give him a cooking demonstration. On the menu for an early lunch: liver and onions, and Cincinnati spaghetti.
You’ll have to tune in (an air date’s not yet set) or stop by to find out what that is.