Union Station revives retro diner

? A famous name has returned to Kansas City’s Union Station, where officials hope it will generate more traffic – and revenue – for the restored landmark.

The Harvey House Diner opened Aug. 11 in the station’s former fast-food court, the same space that was home to the Harvey House in the station’s glory days.

And while the new version isn’t identical to the old, it’s close – down to the Art Deco-style central counter.

“Judging by the pictures (on the wall) it looks like they tried to recreate it just like it originally was, which is refreshing,” said customer Leigh Ann Dill, who sat at the counter eating a salad.

Prices at the diner, which is owned by the station, also are designed to evoke a retro feeling. Station officials wanted a sit-down place that was less expensive than the station’s two other restaurants, Pierpont’s and the Union Cafe.

The most expensive item on the menu, the smoked salmon breakfast plate, is $8.49. Sandwiches range from $3.99 to $5.99, with a menu of $2.49 items available for diners age 6 and younger.

One major difference: There are no Harvey Girls, as there were in the days when the restaurants, created by Fred Harvey, were fixtures at train depots across the West.

Several diners, including five members of the “Ladies with Hattitudes” club from the suburb of Lee’s Summit, would like to see the Harvey Girls – the subject of a 1946 film of the same name – brought back.

“The reason we came is because of the Harvey Girls, and we’re all older than dirt,” said club member Karen DeBitetto.