Pete Funaro started as a busboy at Diamond Lil’s (1528 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City) while attending college at the University of Utah two years after it opened in 1971, when it was a small cafe that sat 30 people. It now seats 500 people. He became the manager at age 21 and through the years helped expand the restaurant to its current size of almost 20,000 square feet, building the roof and many of the interior walls himself. Funaro bought the restaurant in 2006 after it had been closed for several years and turned it back into a booming business. The North Temple construction of the past four years put a damper on things, but Funaro is looking forward to the opening of the new TRAX line that will bring visitors landing at the Salt Lake City Airport to a stop right in front of Diamond Lil’s.
In November 1969, Diamond Lil's opened its doors for business. The original building was a modest home, which was remodeled using old barn lumber. Additions were made with logs from pioneer cabins, some which are 100-150 years old. These square logs, hand hewn, still clearly show the ax marks. Seating capacity was 32 people. The original kitchen was about the size of a large walk-in closet. Bread and prime rib were cooked in a home sized gas oven. From the very beginning Diamond Lil's philosophy has been to serve the best quality product in generous amounts at affordable prices. As Diamond Lil's reputation for great food and friendly service grew, so did the building. Today, seating capacity is about 500. People from all over the world have dined here, some of whom are featured on our wall in the foyer waiting area. The branding wall has had thousand of business cards from all over the world. For years Diamond Lil's has maintained a reputation as a Utah landmark and the finest steakhouse in Utah.