Editor’s Note: The Cohens confirmed late this afternoon that Minuteman Diner will move into the DeAngelo’s space at 363 The Great Road.
From Diane & Ed Cohen’s family to yours – Welcome to our kitchen!
We were only married for a year when Diane & Ed Cohen decided to open E. D’s Neighborhood Café in Medford Mass. “We thought at the time it was a great opportunity “, quotes Ed Cohen. Ed was in his final few years as a Food Service Specialist in the Army National Guard cooking for over 1,500 civilians & soldiers on any given weekend, a degree in Food Marketing with a minor in Hotel Restaurant Management & Diane had a work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit & positive attitude that is hard to find. “Looking back,” says Diane Cohen, “how did we do what we did, no research, no technology, no business plan, a little bit of money that Ed had saved up from the Army & just raw determination to make it work.
After almost two years of 7 days a week of blood, sweat and tears, Diane & Ed were so busy that a business owner at the time who owned a group of diners and bakeries called “The Magnificent Bagel & Muffin Company”, came in and bought them out, tripled their money from the original purchase price. Ed’s quote, “at the time I had just finished up working on my MBA, but no course, no schooling, no amount of research can prepare for the exhaustion of owning a restaurant, however, somehow, we did okay, tell me where you can earn 300% on your investment in less than two years!”
Of course, that is not the norm, the failure rate of restaurants is extremely high, the business of owning & operating a Food Service establishment has changed dramatically over the years with the advent of the Food Channels, culinary institutions popping up everywhere & web sites that share recipes by the minute. It has created an extremely competitive environment where wealthy investors & celebrities spend extremely large sums of money on new and creative ideas as the shift across the United States is away from food cooked at home, towards food prepared “on the go” or at a restaurant. For the most part, smaller restaurants are not considered good investments, but as you will see, those data points only push Diane & Ed even harder to make the Minuteman Diner successful!
Diane & Ed Cohen have 4 children and have lived in Bedford for 23 years raising Amanda (22), Eddie Jr (18), Ryan (14), and Ashley (10). Diane has always had a mindset of working for herself and work hard at it. She developed a few different companies over the years; Cleaning By Diane, NH Loon Rentals, and DBCoverzzz. Diane invented and created three patented products in less than two years; Mypetdbc, Pillow Pocket Pal & Shut eye Pillowcase while operating her cleaning business and property manager for two townhouses located at Loon Mountain for ten years. Rented out to 130 families per year.
Ed has held various Executive positions with Food Companies since the early restaurant days. Ed has sold food products to restaurants and distributors his entire career understands the business side of it, has had conversations with thousands of owner-operators, and has provided solutions for many of them over the years with the products he has sold them.
Recently, Ed resigned as Division Vice President of Dean Foods, the largest producer of milk in the world, a 1-billion-dollar division here in the Northeast. Ed was forced to assist in laying off over 300 people as the Dairy business contracted with the explosion of plant-based non-Dairy products.
Ed quote, “After going through that madness with Dean Foods and seeing those families in Boston that had spent 20+ years with one company, and suddenly they were out of a job after closing the West Lynn Creamery plant, I needed a change in careers. “The plant closing caused disruptions to the most important value I have, customer service. That was when I knew my true calling was to develop a concept that prides itself on service, and that is, a family owned friendly diner. What service friendly environment is more intimate than families eating together “. At least I will get to see families, for the most part, smile, and we will always support local causes too!”
So here is where the story begins, “unfinished business to take care of” Diane & Ed – “Let’s do this again, long hours, customer’s wanting good food, lots of sweat but in our hometown”. Diane & Ed are convinced they now have done the research, technology is here to serve, and there are few breakfast places in the town of Bedford ready to serve the community with a smile. We plan on sports pancake parties, events, birthday celebrations and more.
According to the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, timing could not be better, there is a $32M untapped restaurant market in this area, breakfast occasions are growing at 5% a year for the last 10 years, outpacing the rest of the restaurant dining occasions, and quite frankly, the Minuteman Diner will not compete with any of these new restaurants that spend millions of dollars on high end, expensive fine dining. Their strategy will be to keep it simple, FRIENDLY, INVITING, COMFORTABLE, GOOD SERVICE, CLEAN & QUALITY FOOD purchased from local vendors. Farm to table, with plenty of vegan, gluten-free options, but very large indulgence as well with pancakes, 6 egg omelets (Ed says, bet you can’t?) & a cheesecake stuffed French toast!!! Ed has partnered and consulted with a well-renowned chef who is going to assist him in the menu, recipe creation & operational efficiency. Ed realizes people do not want to wait for breakfast once they order their food. If people are in line, that is okay, it means it is a good spot, but once they sit down, if they are not served coffee right away, order up in 15 minutes, people get angry.
Diane indicates, if her waitress staff is not happy to work there with a smile, they may want to work somewhere else. In addition, Ed Cohen’s sister Debbie will be helping with the baking, muffins in the morning, to pies in the afternoon, to her famous cinnamon bun.
They are applying for a liquor license in which they would extend the hours into the evening & get into a little upscale weekend Brunch with Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s. According to Ed, there is plenty of experience in the kitchen with two cooks coming on board with over 50 years of experience joining Diane & Ed’s team. They will also invest in alumni chefs from the area culinary school; Shawsheen Technical School listed as number 4 in Massachusetts. They are excited to offer evening cooks to be creative and fun with specials.
Minuteman Diner will be the name, tapping into the area’s historical society, in addition, the colors inside the Minuteman Diner will resemble the Bedford Flag, the oldest flag in the United States.
Diane & Ed wanted to end this article with a quick note on their theme with the Minuteman and bits and pieces of a brief article from the Historical Society.
Minuteman Diner Coming to Bedford 8/1/2019
It was in this very town that Jeremiah Fitch, a sergeant who was operating a local food gathering, (the Fitch Tavern) not quite like today’s restaurants, but a nice spot to gather & enjoy food & spirits that are still here today, that twenty-six Bedford Minutemen gathered on the morning of April 19, 1775, following the alarm that the British were on the march from Boston.
Mr. Fitch called the Minutemen to gather at his restaurant around the warmth of the fireplace while young Lydia Fitch served up cold cornmeal mush and hot buttered rum. It was then that a young Captain named Jonathan Wilson looked into the eyes of his men and spoke the famous words,
“It is a cold breakfast, boys, but we’ll give the British a hot dinner; we’ll have every dog of them before night.”
Our goal is to honor those that had to settle for a cold breakfast on a journey to save our city and country, so our promise is to always offer a hot breakfast served throughout the day, all day, your way….