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Truro's Willow Street Diner enjoys a tidy trade at new location

Chef Chance Johnson at the Willow Street Pizza and Diner restaurant takes genuine pride in his creations. Placing toppings on pizza and prepping donair meat slices is all in a day’s work for him.
Chef Chance Johnson at the Willow Street Pizza and Diner restaurant takes genuine pride in his creations. Placing toppings on pizza and prepping donair meat slices is all in a day’s work for him. - Fram Dinshaw

From its new home on Hwy 2, the Willow Street Diner serves its traditional fare of donairs and pizzas – both eat in and take out.

It was a quiet Thursday afternoon at the Willow Street Pizza and Diner as two customers finished up a pizza, but the restaurant is making a tidy profit at its new home on Hwy 2 south of Truro.

Restaurant owner Adam Boucher and his four-strong team moved into the Hwy 2 location on May 14, after buying their small building in January for just $60,000 and so far, most customers are pleased with both the food and location. The diner was previously based in Milford, just south of Shubenacadie.

“Hopefully, we can give you what you want and we stand behind our product 100 per cent,” said Boucher. “I’m actually waiting to hear now on an expansion to the building hopefully in the next two days, we’re going to be opening an outside eating area next.”

While Boucher is keen to build an extension onto the existing building soon, he has no immediate plans to open a second location, but says he may yet do so in five or so years from now.

In his view, “90 per cent,” of customers are happy with the new location and its signature dish of donair-melt pizza and poutine, which continues to prove popular with the clientele.

Boucher said Hwy 2 is a high-traffic location that draws in more people and he added that business is “better than I ever expected it to be.”

“When customers are happy and give positive feedback it makes me feel good,” said Boucher.

For Boucher, running his own restaurant is a far cry from the “assembly line,” approach to cooking that he experienced while he was in the military.

As an aviation technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Boucher’s job was to keep Sea King helicopters in working order. He spent nine years at Shearwater Base in Halifax and went to see with the navy, who used Sea Kings for both rescue missions and tracking submarines.

However, the future restaurant owner had fond memories of his time at sea, where ships’ galleys ran weekly ‘Fish Fridays’, a way for sailors and airmen to count down the time until they returned home.

“I was on a boat for six months and the navy cooks were pretty good with seafood chowders and they served us lobster,” Boucher recalled. “It’s a morale booster.”

After he left the military in 2016, Boucher entered the restaurant business by opening his diner in Truro.

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