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About Us

Tom Messina, owner of Tom’s Starlight – formerly Tom’s Diner – on September 28, 2022. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Meet Tom

Tom Messina, Owner and Operator of the original Tom’s Diner – now Tom’s Starlight.

Tom took the reins of Tom’s Diner in 1999 and ran the 24-hour restaurant – a staple of the community – for 20 years. When Tom’s Diner was poised for demolition in 2019, he teamed up with GBX Group LLC to preserve the property and transform it into the new restaurant “Tom’s Starlight”.

About Tom's Starlight

The new Tom’s Starlight was previously known as Tom’s Diner, a 24-hour seven days a week Denver staple for more than 20 years. The historic structure, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, is an excellent example of Googie-style architecture. It originally opened in 1967 in the form of a White Spot Restaurant. Its unusual architecture is an expression of the style that originated with a California coffee shop of that name after World War II and became popular along highways and major thoroughfares throughout the country.

The style was viewed as futuristic, displaying features such as cantilevered and tilting roofs, walls, and windows, as well as geometric shapes and acute angles. The style also used expanses of glass, metal, plastic panels, and stone veneers. The architects for this building, Armet & Davis of Los Angeles, were considered the preeminent designers in the Googie style.

The White Spot coffee shop chain started in Colorado in 1947. William F. Clements, who was born in Monte Vista, operated a bakery business that supplied restaurants in downtown Denver before opening his first White Spot in an existing storefront on Broadway. Clements created nine restaurants in the chain and hired Armet & Davis as the firm’s architects. The coffee shops were known for their casual atmosphere, convenient parking, attractive prices, fast and friendly service, comfortable seating, and menus with a wide selection of meals. This specific White Spot on Colfax Avenue operated until the mid-1980s. A series of restaurants followed in this building, but none achieved long-term success until Tom’s Diner, owned by Thomas S. Messina, began serving food in 1999.

Tom’s Starlight under construction as the new restaurant took shape

The new look of Tom’s Starlight