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It’s one of those places you didn’t know you needed to go until you went. A colorful '50s-style diner with a dinosaur park out back might not be quite at the top of a list of things to do when traveling around California’s Mojave Desert — but it should be.
Built in 1954 from railroad ties and mortar from the nearby Union Pacific Rail yard, Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner was reopened and restored in the late '80s. The pastel-rainbow-colored venue now features a restaurant with both sit-down and counter service; a five-and-dime store with ice cream, deli sandwiches and souvenirs; and a “diner-saur” park with water features and metal statues of prehistoric creatures such as a stegosaurus, a brachiosaurus and even a King Kong-like gorilla.
Inside, it’s all kinds of kitschy, too. Photos of '50s film stars adorn the walls, and memorabilia from the era is strewn about (think: Betty Boop and Blues Brothers statues, a jukebox and Marilyn Monroe cutouts).
The menu adheres to the theme as well, with creations such as the Buddy Holly Bacon Cheeseburger, the Tina Turner Tuna Sandwich and the John Wayne (roast beef with barbecue sauce on a French roll). I opted for the Frankie Avalon Philly Steak Sandwich with a side of deep-fried dill pickles. Don’t expect anything gourmet — it’s diner food through and through — but that’s not why you come here.
Just east of Barstow, the eatery is the perfect quirky stop on the way to or from Mojave National Preserve. The servers are spunky and friendly, and the atmosphere is homey and casual — I rolled in covered practically head to toe in sand from my desert weekend, and no one batted an eye.
Pro tip: Don’t be alarmed when walking into the women’s restroom. There’s a statue that will startle you, but it’s all in keeping with the nudge-nudge-wink-wink fashion of Peggy Sue’s.
The DetailsPeggy Sue’s 50’s Dinerwww.peggysuesdiner.com