Roadside Diner AND Dinosaur Park?
Don and I were headed on Route 66 from Las Vegas to LA and we were starved. We spotted the billboards but honestly, I wasn't really up for a crowded, gimmicky dining adventure. I just wanted some food. But when I spotted that sheet metal dinosaur from the highway, I told Don there was no way we could keep driving.
We pulled off at Ghost Town Road (near Yermo, CA) and drove past the giant juke box entrance to the parking lot. It was a huge lot with cars, semis and... yikes, a tourist bus! It was indeed a tourist trap, but at least one that was actually built in the day of poodle skirts and malt shops. How bad could this be?
Windows and Doors
The place was confusing with numerous add-ons to the original building. The diner opened in 1954 with 9 counter stools and 3 booths. The owners lived in the attached house with the blue windows and doors. When the current owners expanded the diner, they began serving food in the rest of the house and sunroom. A gift shop was added at the other end.
I really do love Hollywood stuff, but sometimes Betty Boop and Elvis stuff wears me out. What does that have to do with a fifties diner, really? Then I found out that the owner Peggy Sue and her husband Champ came from the LA in the 1980's to re-open the old diner and brought their memorabilia collection with them. It was actually pretty nice having so much to look at, since there was a bit of a wait for a table.
Shop & Soda Fountain
There was lots to look at in the gift shop, but mostly stuff I've seen before. I did like the old soda fountain and the mannequin perched on her stool.
The Original Diner
There was little chance of getting seated in the old diner, with the checkered tiles and 3 booths. The yellow walkway lead guests to additional seating in the old house. It was comical watching the aisle jam up with customers and servers passing each other. I caught this photo at a good moment.
I usually say server, but when I see pastel colored uniforms with little caps, I just have to say waitress. I loved spotting these 3, having a little moment in their huddle. It reminded me of my favorite Hollywood waitresses, Alice and Flo, from "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." I loved the scene where the busy café is totally neglected while Flo supports Alice during a meltdown!
I wish we'd gotten a seat at the counter. We could have stared at the pies!
Shirley was delivering soup when we almost collided. She graciously posed for me. How I wish I'd had more time to talk with this cheery waitress. Her nametag said, "Peggy Sue's Diner, starring Shirley, since 1988".
I'll bet Shirley, surely has some good stories to tell.
Finding our Table
Eventually our hostess took us to our table. We passed through this room, which must have been the family room at one time, with its fireplace...
... and its pastel painted paneling. I think Marilyn was doing a good job guarding the coffee pots, here. The window seemed to reveal the original house kitchen.
Table with a View
Don and I sort of laughed when we were seated in the room with fake vines and dangling Hawaiian leis. I think this used to be a porch or a sunroom and I think the hostess was holding her breath that we wouldn't gripe about our table. I'm sure some folks would have stressed over being in the back room, since the best diner décor was used up in the other rooms. But we were happy to be handed menus. We enjoyed an entertaining view of the travelers coming and going in the giant lot, while we downed out lunch. Don had the Patti Page Melt with curly fries and I went for the Jailhouse Rock which was chili and cornbread. Not the best meal ever, but I'm not complaining. We had an amusing good time.
We took a quick peek at the "garden" in back before heading to the car. This place went on and on. There was a pizza parlor and a small stage, some cement patio tables and docks around the duck pond....and more fine metal art which included King Kong and a stegosaurus!
One More Laugh
We headed to the car chuckling about our curious lunch stop and paused to smile at the doggy waiting for his master. I hope the truck driver brought his friend back a Cary Grant Honey Ham Sandwich or some Hoola Hoop Onion Rings!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.