DuBOIS — Sean Garred, owner of the DuBois Diner, is bringing back the feel of a classic 1950s-style drive-in restaurant.
Beginning today, Garred has decided to offer carhop service at his retro-style restaurant, in addition to offering takeout and curbside pickup services to keep their doors open since Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses earlier this week.
“It fits our style of restaurant. American diners have always been associated with this type of service — but girls on roller skates, we won’t have, sorry about that,” said Garred.
After talking with some customers Wednesday, Garred said there was a strong interest in having a full restaurant menu available without patrons having to leave their cars to pick up or eat.
“So they’re on their way home and they just order for everybody,” said Garred. “Or, they just feel like getting out of the house a little bit and can eat in their cars.”
The diner, which is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, started operating the carhop service as a pilot program Wednesday and Thursday and expected to be fully operational with the carhop service today. Carhop service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“It was an easy thing for me to implement quickly. I had everything set up 14 years ago to do this when I opened the diner and already had the carhop service trays,” said Garred. “But customers, at that point, felt better about being at a table and visiting with other customers. They also like the climate control of the indoors. There was just a preference. But now with things changing this seems like it suits the current social situation we are in.”
While outdoor music is playing, the servers will be in the front of the restaurant waiting to serve customers.
“They (servers) have expressed they miss their regulars,” said Garred. “You just develop relationships with people and keeping up with everybody.”
Waitress Michelle Hetrick, an employee at the diner for six years, said she is happy for the opportunity to still work during these trying times.
“I’m all for doing what we need to do. We all need to survive,” said Hetrick. “I’m just thankful to get the hours because I have a family at home. I have a husband, a 3-year-old, and a 5-month-old. We’re just trying to survive, and if this works, awesome. We’re trying to make the best of it just like everybody else.”
Brad and Mary Joiner of Brookville took advantage of the carhop service Thursday morning while waiting to pick up their daughter, Katherine Joiner, and their newborn granddaughter, Gabrielle Rose, from Penn Highlands DuBois and take them home.
While her husband had a buffalo burger, Mary Joiner said, “I wanted blueberry pancakes, and I figured that they would have them here. We’ve been so busy getting ready for the new baby to come home, and we’ve been trying to support local businesses as much as we can.”
“From the time I introduced this idea, there has been momentum building, with more interest today as people are realizing this situation isn’t going to be quick, and they are looking for other options,” Garred said. “It’s an alternative to other things that are out there.”
For more information, call the diner at 814-371-3463.