Don’t expect to find any foo-fooie (is that a word?) art at Keri’s Diner on East Washington Street, in the corner building once occupied by Carter Furniture.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

The foo-fooie is a reference, of course, to Art’s Kitchen on West Washington Street, which closed last week, with its fancy art on the walls and pastel-colored dishware. Not that there was anything wrong with that. I liked Art’s.

But Suffolk’s newest eatery downtown is a bare bones &uot;Diner.&uot;

Keri’s had a soft opening Wednesday morning and I dropped in to check the place out.

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The thing that immediately jumps out at you about Keri’s is the counter – all 47 1/2 feet of it. I could barely see to the other end.

I had a couple eggs, hash browns and a biscuit and it was good.

The Styrofoam plate and plasticware was a little annoying, but as I mentioned, Keri’s is a bare bones operation, serving good, diner-style food quickly.

I’d do the same thing were I running a small, casual eatery to save on the dishwashing labor.

Mayor Bobby Ralph dropped in, too, while I was there and had a sausage a biscuit. I like that the biscuits are grilled, ala The Dining Room when it used to serve breakfast.

Owner Keri Bateman said she had worked for about 10 years at a hot dog place in Chesapeake before opening her restaurant in Suffolk. She seemed pleasant enough.

The menu is basic: for breakfast, eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits, toast, various meats, bagels and Danish are also available; lunch is limited to burgers, dogs (which can be had with kielbasa and New York hot sausage, whatever that is, and sandwiches – pork bbq, chicken salad, tuna salad, steak and ham & cheese. Downtownies will like that Keri’s will deliver lunch with a minimum $10 order.

The restaurant is brightly lit with lots of natural streaming in through the big windows.

There is some art on the wall – photos of 50’s celebrities like James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, etc. There are a few tables, but the focus is that long, long, counter.

I was surprised to see that Keri’s sells beer. Available brands are listed under a sign that says &uot;It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.&uot;

It’s good to see something open up on that end of Washington St. Please give them a try.