The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Benny's Diner, which was initially planned to open in Spring 2020, will be Penn Student Agencies newest business and will have a soft opening this Friday and Saturday. Credit: Chase Sutton

Benny’s Diner is set to have a soft opening on Nov. 19 and 20 with a grand opening set for January. 

The diner is Penn Student Agencies' newest business and will serve breakfast food at its Houston Hall location. It was initially set to open in spring 2020 but was delayed due to the sudden closure of the University in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other PSA businesses, it remained closed last academic year. 

The two-day soft opening will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. this Friday and Saturday. Benny's will offer a limited menu of omelets, waffles, pancakes, coffee, and milkshakes. 

The diner was initially set to open earlier this semester around Halloween weekend, College sophomore and Executive Director Eleni Pisinos said, but they were unable to do so for various reasons, including not enough hired employees. 

The need for more employees came in light of many members of the executive board and employees graduating before Benny’s was able to officially open. 

“A lot of people, like the people who founded Benny’s, graduated last year. And then a lot of people who were hired have left the team, like they were hired almost two years ago now and maybe they didn't want to work anymore, or they actually graduated, and so that's where our issue is — a lot of the old team members never actually got to work because of COVID-19,” Pisinos explained. 

Earlier this semester, Benny’s and Class Board 2024 held an event to celebrate the end of the first month of school where they handed out pancakes to members of the Class of 2024. Over 600 pancakes were made and handed out, Pisinos said.

As one of the College chairs on Class Board 2024, Pisinos pitched the idea that Benny’s cater an event when she heard that someone was looking for breakfast food vendors for the event. Benny’s was ultimately selected as the vendor due to its cheap prices and accessibility. 

“It just worked out really well because part of the reason that Benny’s exists is to have affordable prices for the student body," Pisinos said. "So when they were deciding between different vendors, Benny’s had the best price and had a lot of accessibility since we're in Houston, and the event was happening in the tent on Penn Commons."

Pisinos, whose family owned a restaurant that she worked at, said she has a good knowledge of how to cater events and wants to incorporate that more into Benny’s goals. 

“My family has a restaurant and I literally was there the day after I was born — I grew up there, working every day. So catering events [was] something I was very familiar with, so I guess that it's something I'm trying to incorporate since I have experience with it,” she said. 

Pisinos said she is excited about the upcoming soft opening, which will serve as preparation for the eventual grand opening. 

“This weekend's mostly about getting the word out about Benny's and getting people to know us and it also gives us a chance to work out any kinks and stuff like that because a lot of our students haven't worked in a kitchen,” she said.