For the Lightburns Family Diner, family influences run deep. The diner is owned by Daniel Castro and his wife, Dianne Fay-Castro, who named the restaurant after Dianne’s uncle, Joseph Lighburn.
“He had owned a hardware store in Jane Lew,” according to Dianne, who is also the general manager. “He didn’t have any children of his own, but he was a dad to me. So we wanted to carry on the family name.”
Dianne grew up in Jane Lew until she was 16, and then moved to live in Philadelphia for several years. However, she said that she had always wanted to come back.
“My family is here,” Dianne said. “My mom’s here.”
Daniel, the head chef at the diner, has had over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, having worked for various styles of restaurants — including Greek, Mexican and fine dining. However, his biggest and first influence was his grandmother. This helped shape his positive attitude, as he looks at the business in a different light.
“I got my start from my grandma, peeling potatoes in the kitchen with her,” Daniel said. “What always stuck with me, my grandma said, ‘If you can’t have your cake and eat it too, at least lick the icing.’ If you can’t have what you want the way you want it to be, at least try. I look at it like being in the happy business; I’m trying to make people happy.”
After working for other people for several years, Daniel said that he and Dianne had discussed working for themselves in some capacity, and when the building across from their house went up for sale, they decided it was time.
“A lot of things just coincided around the same time, to acquire the property, to be able to start working on it right away,” Castro said. “We wanted to have something for our family. For the kids going forward, but for ourselves as well.”
The business is located at 6298 Main St. in Jane Lew.
They hope to be able to bring something different to the area, and give residents a larger variety to choose from.
“We moved out here, and in Philadelphia, in a two block radius you have over 100 restaurants,” Daniel said. “So we thought, what’s missing around here? I have a wide range of influence. We’ll get people to try different things that are unfamiliar, to try and broaden the palette.”
While they offer American traditional food, they continue to diversify their menu, with a variety of seafood, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros with homemade tzatziki sauce, creole pasta, apple turnovers, stuffed french toast and more.
The diner has many staples on its menu, including crab cakes served every Friday, which are rising in popularity.
“We sell a ton of those. The crab cakes are really popular,” Dianne said. “We have stuff you’re not going to find anywhere else, and everything is homemade.”
The diner is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Dinner hours are 5-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The restaurant had it’s official opening in June, and they’re constantly working to meet the customer’s needs.
“We really listen to our customers. That’s the big thing,” Dianne said. “Just to improve things if they aren’t right. What people like, don’t like. We’ll make little changes here and there.”
As they look toward fall, Daniel said he’s preparing to get into more seasonal dishes, using foods such as pumpkin and butternut squash.
“I like to try new things and keep in fun. Otherwise, it just becomes work. If you can’t be happy doing what you’re doing, then what’s the point?” Daniel said. “I’ve been cooking for a long time under a lot of chefs and learned a lot of food. It’s a matter of bringing elements together — I’m trying to have something different, and that’s what makes our place unique.”