Wimpy and Dee's recreating the 50s diner experience

(photo by J. Finneran) Wimpy and Dee's is a 50s style classic diner which was transplanted from Texas to honey Brook in 2011.
(photo by J. Finneran) Patrons enjoy an afternoon meal inside of Wimpy and Dee's diner in Honey Brook.

Lyn and Bev Kemper fondly remember the nearby diners they visited while growing up in and around Honey Brook - there was Bill's Diner, the Peak, and the Mountaintop Diner. They recall the great atmosphere that accompanied these places, and how all of their friends would come out to socialize, show off their cars, and occasionally find budding romance.

It was those great memories that motivated the Kempers to bring a 50s style diner to Honey Brook. Their diner, Wimpy and Dee's, is located on Route 322 in Honey Brook, just a half-mile west of the intersection with Route 10. The restaurant is named in honor of Bev's parents, whose story can be found on the wall of the diner entrance and whose picture hangs above one of the diner's booths.

"Owning a diner like this was on my 'bucket list'," said Lyn, "so we went ahead and starting searching for one three years ago even though the economy was tough at the time."

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Lyn said that he came by the building through a broker in North Carolina that specifically finds diners for people to buy.

"He contacted me and said 'Lyn, you have to see this diner I found in Texas!' so I flew down to Galveston and saw the building. It is uniquely 50's, which was just what we were looking for. It had the décor, the booths, the wall mirrors and glass blocks... ...it was just like the big diners that used to be open years ago in Reading and Downingtown."

After purchasing the diner, the Kempers had the entire building disassembled, brought to Honey Brook, and then reassembled.

"It felt fantastic when we opened last August, but we really went through hell putting it up!" he confessed.

Once the building was in place, they then endeavored to recreate the atmosphere. Decorating the diner was a blast for the Kempers, as they have a collection of items from the 50s and 60s. Throughout Wimpy and Dee's there are old photos, model cars, and others nostalgic pieces to be found - including their milkshake machine, which dates from 1962. They also play music from the era to add to the ambiance.

One of Lyn's favorite decorations is a case on the wall which houses items from the Draggin' Wagons Car Club, which both he and Bev belonged to back in the late 50's and early 60's. The case features a Draggin' Wagons Women's Auxiliary jacket, some club membership cards, and a few of the courtesy cards which members would give out to motorists who they would assist on the roadside.

"Back then cars broke down all the time," said Lyn, "kids today have no idea how much people had to go through to get places back then. That's why the club had these cards - we would hand them out to the people we helped on the road."

Lyn said that the staff of Wimpy and Dee's was picked for having that same kind of friendly personality. He describes his staff as conversational and experienced, which admittedly helped during the diner's opening week.

"We had a bunch of practice runs with the kitchen and servers before we started, but when we had our Grand Opening we were just overwhelmed with customers," he recalls. "Before long we were able to get things running smoothly. We really appreciate our customers' understanding at the beginning, because everyone knows that getting started isn't easy. Now we see a lot of the same faces - such as one couple who comes out every week from Narvon for banana splits - that is a great reminder of how far our food and our service have come."

Lyn describes the menu as a 'classic diner menu with new twists'. Chiefly among those twists is the Mac and Cheese burger - a stout hamburger topped with macaroni and cheese. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner items, as well as deserts - that 1962 milkshake machine is not just for show, after all!

"I enjoy it so much when people come in and have that look on their face - that 'taken back in time' look. We really like to think that we help bring back great memories with the setting and the food here."

The spirit of Americana also runs deep at Wimpy and Dee's. The diner offers a free meal to any current member of the armed forces who comes in wearing a complete uniform, and Kemper also has the staff say the Pledge of Allegiance every Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

"I had a World War II veteran come to the counter with tears in his eyes who wanted to shake my hand and say 'thank you for saying the pledge'," said Lyn. "We have been thanked by several veterans for honoring our country."

The Kempers warmly welcome organizations to come out and have meeting over meals. The diner is already frequented by church groups and other organizations that gather for breakfast and lunch meetings, and Draggin' Wagons recently held their Annual Car Show there.

"I'm always happy to have the Draggin' Wagons folks around. It was really great having the show held here and we would love to do it again," Lyn said.

Above all, Wimpy and Dee's is a place for any and every one, because what the Kempers want most from the diner is to help other's create great memories like the ones which they share.

"We wanted to have a place that families can enjoy, a place for friends to come together," said Lyn. "We really care about our hometown and have made this a place that everyone can be proud of."

Wimpy and Dee's is located at 5051 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook, PA, 19344. To contact them by phone call (484) 514-2250.