Rebranding & revival of West Richland diner represents family legacy for its owners

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — Customers lost out on one of their favorite restaurants when JD Diner closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Lil’ Moon Diner opened on Friday, July 1, people were reminded of when the diner first opened—most notably, the return of JD.

The original owner named JD Diner after her son, Jamie Daniel ((JD) McCallum. Family history took a prominent role in the West Richland business when JD and his wife, Frances McCallum, became co-owners of the newly-renamed Lil’ Moon Diner.

“His mom originally owned the building when it was called JD Diner. And she was going to sell it, and she asked us if we wanted to kinda, you know, take a shot at it, or get rid of the building, so we kinda wanted to keep it in the family,” Frances said.

JD and Frances kept the family tradition alive by naming the restaurant after their daughter. While it may seem like a tribute to their lineage, there’s a more meaningful reason for the co-owners to name the diner after their daughter, Lilia Moon.

“She’s two and a half years old, and at about nine months, she was diagnosed with cancer,” JD said. “She’s terminal now, and so she’s going to pass away probably within a year, so we decided to name it after her.”

JD clarified that she has clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, which spread from her kidney to her lungs, bones, and most recently, her brain. Doctors deemed Lilia terminal this year despite ongoing treatment.

Through her diagnosis, Lilia has also been accompanying her parents as they set up the diner over the past two and a half months.

“You’ll see my daughter come through, here in her stroller, she’ll say hi and eat some food,” Frances said.

Spirits remain high at the Lil’ Moon Diner as regulars are back and happy to see open doors.

“There’s definitely a big following for this restaurant. And hopefully, they all realize we’re open and start, keep coming out,” JD said.

The diner is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It’s located at 3790 W Van Giesen St. As they ramp up business, the diner will add dinner to the menu and extend the hours of operation.

To prepare for the restaurant’s opening, the couple spent roughly a month deep-cleaning. They plan to remodel the restaurant as business picks up and they save up funds. This includes painting the outside of the building, repaving the parking lot, refurbishing the roof and making the kitchen bigger by adding another grill, fryer and charbroiler.

The owners said that in August or September, they will hold a grand opening and announce their dinner menu. They also said that they are working to obtain a beer and wine license for the restaurant.

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