Don't forget, this week, the Route 66 festival happens in Tulsa. Right on cue is the return of the Route 66 Diner.
The diner opened its doors in 1988, but has been something of a wanderer over the years. It started on 11th Street, and then went downtown, then moved to Stillwater and now itâ€™s back downtown at 2nd and Elgin. With this new one, the owner is trying to get it all wrong.
News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg explains.
"When you go down Route 66, you know you've been going somewhere." Debbie Higgs, the owner of the Route 66 Diner, has to keep reminding her workers, make it look bad. You see, she says, it's the eccentric nature of the places along Route 66 that give them their charm. "The culture changes as you go along. Everybody's done stuff the way they would do it, not the way they were supposed to do it, not the way they were told to do it, not cookie-cutter.â€
So here and there she tells the crew, work in a little flaw, don't make it too perfect, not unattractive, just a quirk or two. "Closer to human." Route 66 is in Debbie's blood. She says her mother was a rambler, traveling all along the fabled road. "My brother was born in Kansas and then she traveled it back and I was born in California and then we traveled back and that's how I got here."
Debbie has tried to create a miniature Route 66 world inside the building starting with the Mother Road itself. Then there's an outdoor seating environment with trees and a picket fence. But the big attraction will be a recreation of the diner inside the larger restaurant. "You know they used to wait outside in line for the diner, and now they can wait inside in line."
She says the one place there will be no flaws is the food. And she says it will be true diner tradition.