JANE DAVIS, owner and operator of the Brunswick Diner, sits with longtime customer Dallas Staples of Brunswick.

JANE DAVIS, owner and operator of the Brunswick Diner, sits with longtime customer Dallas Staples of Brunswick.

BRUNSWICK

Dallas Staples walked into the Brunswick Diner for the first time 70 years ago at the age of four. Staples’ father ate there every day, and Dallas has followed in his old man’s footsteps.

“I’ve been coming in at 6 a.m. for 40 years,” said Staples, a Brunswick resident who owns an excavation company. “The waitress puts coffee and water on my table to reserve it. The diner makes my day. If I don’t come in here, I’m a wreck. It’s all about communication and seeing everyone.”

WAITRESS JESSICA COFFIN mans the cash register at the Brunswick Diner.

WAITRESS JESSICA COFFIN mans the cash register at the Brunswick Diner.

The Brunswick Diner — an intimate, old world food stop on Pleasant Street — is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month. Owner and operator Jane Davis said that the diner is built on its regulars, who have been coming in long before she bought the diner in 1998.

“All of our customers go way back,” said Davis. “We have people who come in twice a day and have been for years. It’s a small family feeling around here. We make a real good burger, but it’s not just about producing food.”

LONGTIME CUSTOMERS Maria Brancato, right, and Lee Caldwell sit in their booth at the Brunswick Diner on Pleasant Street.

LONGTIME CUSTOMERS Maria Brancato, right, and Lee Caldwell sit in their booth at the Brunswick Diner on Pleasant Street.

Davis said it’s the classic atmosphere of the diner — the smell of fried onions in the air, the waitresses’ gracious greetings, the camaraderie — that keeps people coming back, and she said that sentiment inspired her 70th anniversary celebration, which takes place at the diner on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

MUGS FROM the coffee club at the Brunswick Diner. The eatery — an intimate, old world food stop on Pleasant Street — is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month. Owner and operator Jane Davis said that the diner is built on its regulars, who have been coming in long before she bought the diner in 1998.

MUGS FROM the coffee club at the Brunswick Diner. The eatery — an intimate, old world food stop on Pleasant Street — is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month. Owner and operator Jane Davis said that the diner is built on its regulars, who have been coming in long before she bought the diner in 1998.

“As a tribute to the diner’s history, we’re going to do a 1940s menu for the day,” said Davis. “Some of our food providers are going to donate food. We will feature 25 cent hamburgers, like they were in the ’40s. The menu will be typical of the ’40s, with sunny side up eggs and all those cute names. I think the waitresses will wear ’40s clothing.”

 

 

Davis expects all of the regulars to be there for the celebration, but said she hopes folks who are unfamiliar with the diner will stop in as well.

“We’ve sort of stayed under the radar, like a speak-easy, a well-kept secret,” said Davis. “It’s surprising more people don’t come in here more for the history, though.”

 

 

Through the years, Brunswick Diner has relied on its regulars to thrive. Staff will often keep tabs on folks throughout the day, and worry if they fail to show.

“If certain people don’t show up, our waitresses will call them,” said Davis. “There’s an 80-year-old woman who comes in at two o’clock every day and sits at the bar and plays crosswords. She’s been coming forever, and if she doesn’t show up, people panic. There was another guy who was in the hospital yesterday with heart problems, and two of the waitresses went to see him and offered to clean his apartment.”

 

 

Davis spoke of another 80- year-old Brunswick woman who would listen to the jukebox every time she came in during the early 1950s. Mini jukeboxes top each booth table, but none of them work anymore.

“I played a song on Pandora for her the other day, and she got up and started dancing,” said Davis. “She was trying to get all the boys in the diner to dance with her. She’s been coming in since she was 14.”

Another Brunswick resident, Maria Brancato, started coming into the diner with her mother when she moved to Maine in 1978. It was her mom’s favorite place in town, and continued to be right up until she died a few years ago at the age of 95.

THE BRUNSWICK DINER on Pleasant Street is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a special 1940s menu and other features on Feb. 28.

THE BRUNSWICK DINER on Pleasant Street is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a special 1940s menu and other features on Feb. 28.

“My mom loved coming here, and they treated her wonderfully,” said Brancato. “Everyone knew her routine, how she liked her French fries, and really treated her to it. My husband and I come here often now. He will say, ‘I can make eggs at home, but I want to relax.’ I’m always shocked if someone lives in Brunswick and has never been here.”

Looking ahead, Davis said that the Brunswick Diner’s 70th anniversary is more about staying the same than trying to change.

“It’s a diner above all else, and there aren’t many around anymore,” Davis said. “It’s supposed to take you back to when times were simple. Nothing’s complicated about our menu, nothing’s fancy. You get to eat and you don’t pay too much. When people come in the doors, they expect a familiar place. That’s what we try to give them here.”

The Brunswick Diner 70th anniversary celebration on Feb. 28 runs during normal business hours, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The diner is open seven days a week, but will be closed the following day for an employee party. For more information, visit the Brunswick Diner Facebook page.

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Celebration

THE BRUNSWICK DINER 70th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 28 runs during normal business hours, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The diner is open seven days a week, but will be closed the following day for an employee party. For more information, visit the Brunswick Diner Facebook page.




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