New Dinky Restaurant and Bar seeks to preserve historic nature of space| Oct 2, 2016
The stone building that used to serve as the waiting room for the New Jersey Transit Princeton train station is now the Dinky Bar & Kitchen, whichopened for full service in early August.
The establishment is a "welcoming and simple bar offering locally-sourced, ingredient-driven snacks, small plates and more," according to its website.
The bar is owned by Fenwick Hospitality Group, which also runs Agricola, a restaurant located on Witherspoon Street. The building that houses the bar as been party of the Dinky train station for almost a century, from 1918 to 2013.
The station was moved 460 feet south from its original location to accommodate the University's $330 million Arts and Transit Program. The announcement of the bar's opening came last November, whenUniversity Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget said that a café and restaurant are scheduled to open in 2016 and 2017.
In light of the building’s historical significance, the DB&K seeks to incorporate some of the history into its experience, according to manager Adam Flocke.
“Literally everybody on the staff, just about, knows at least one or two historical facts and fun facts about it, that way if people ask,” Flocke said. “It’s important to us to know the history, because a lot of people appreciate the building so much, that it’d be a disservice to the community and to the memory of the building to not at least have the staff know a little bit."
He added that there is some historical information right at the front doors that customers can read while they're looking around.
Some students who ate at the bar said that they felt this historical atmosphere, while others said that they did not really notice it.
“Our waitress was really knowledgeable, and she was telling us about how they renovated it, and what the different parts of the station that were still in it. I thought it was really cool — they had the menu backup on the little train station board,” Colin Yost ’19 said.
Lizzie Bird ’17 said that though she did not get the whole Dinky atmosphere,the DB&K felt like a "kind of small, but nice."
Regarding the food and drinks, several students said they enjoyed their orders. They added that the wait staff was very friendly.
Bird said that the cocktails had “really fancy” names.
“He [the waiter] was like the kind of waiter who talks to you even before you order what you’re getting and made jokes,” she added.
Despite their positive experiences, students said that they don’t imagine the DB&K becoming a regular meeting spot for students because of the prices there.
“If they wanted to have a little 'let’s treat ourselves to something really nice' ... I’d recommend it,” said Yost. “But I don’t see it as a place that’s a good college-popular hangout."
Next year, Fenwick Hospitality Group plans to open Cargot, a restaurant offering “approachable French food,” according to the DB&K website. Cargot will be housed in the larger stone building near the DB&K, which served as the cargo and baggage handling area in the past.