HANCOCK — The initial idea for the Itty-Bitty Diner did not come from the proprietor herself, Kathy Kidder.
It was her husband, Scott Brown, who first mentioned it to her last year. The space next to No Frills Oil Co. in the log-cabin style building at 1166 U.S. Route 1 in Hancock was vacant after the Salt Box restaurant relocated to Winter Harbor, and Brown told Kidder she ought to open a restaurant there.
“I thought about it and thought about it,” Kidder recalled, before eventually deciding to go ahead with it. After months of preparation, Itty-Bitty Diner opened its doors to customers in mid-November of 2017.
Kidder is no stranger to the restaurant business. She and her former husband ran Bob and Kathy’s in Sullivan, and more recently she was working for someone else. Once she decided that yes, she would get back into the business, she had a lot of help from her family and friends.
Brown has his own full-time job but helped out and still works weekends at the diner. Laura Nason and Alice Herrick, Kidder’s aunt, were both a “big help” in getting the place up and running, Kidder said.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” she added.
Herrick commemorated Kidder’s return to the restaurant world with a poem:
Hope everyone is happy
Kathy’s back to cookin’
She took some time off
But, she “had been lookin’”
Itty-Bitty Diner is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. five days a week, Friday through Tuesday, and closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Menu offerings include omelets, pancakes and muffins for breakfast, and sandwiches, chicken tenders, onion rings and much more for lunch.
Among the most popular items so far are the crab and cheese omelet for breakfast and the steak and cheese sandwich for lunch. Lobster rolls are a new addition to the menu this season.
The seafood is fresh and sourced locally. Kidder gets her lobster from a local fisherman and the crabmeat comes from Hometown Shellfish in Steuben.
Diners who have been to Itty-Bitty Diner and reviewed it on Facebook are unanimous in their assessment: it has received 15 reviews since last fall and all of them garnered five stars.
“We make almost everything from scratch,” Kidder said. She told the story of the diner in between working on a crabmeat omelet and taking fresh blueberry and raspberry muffins out of oven.
The menu at Itty-Bitty Diner, Kidder said, is similar to what was served at Bob and Kathy’s except the diner does not serve dinner.
“Dinner makes for a long day,” she said. To get ready to serve breakfast, she is in at work at 5:30 every morning.
The feel of the diner is comfy and homey. Kidder said with the small space, if a big group comes in and there’s a large table with only two people at it the group will sometimes join them and “make new friends.”
Where: 1166 US Route 1 in Hancock (next to No Frills Oil)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday through Tuesday (closed Wednesday and Thursday)
Contact: Find the diner on Facebook (@ittybittydiner) or call 422-3300