Iconic pink-striped ‘old diner from the ‘50s’ makes 51-mile trek from Grand Rapids to Muskegon

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A 60,000-pound pink-striped diner rumbled down the highway Monday, making an 81-mile journey from Grand Rapids to Muskegon.

It took about 90 minutes for the truck with the 4.5 meter wide and 55 meter long restaurant to reach its new home in the city on Lake Michigan.

Pal’s Diner, a legendary New Jersey diner from 1954, has moved from 6503 28th Street in Grand Rapids to Hot Rod Harley-Davidson at 149 Shoreline Drive under new owners Scott and Mark Campbell.

“We hope to become a destination for motorcyclists or just for people who come to downtown Muskegon to see the old ’50s diner,” said Scott Campbell.

The father-son duo, which owns Hot Rod Harley-Davidson and My Auto Import Center, bought the diner in March. It has been standing on raised wooden beams for months, waiting for approval, approval and a specialized transport trolley.

“We saw that it wasn’t used here, and it’s something that has long been loved by many,” said Campbell. “With my family’s enthusiasm for dinner and a city like Muskegon that needs attractions, it means the world to us.”

Related: The iconic 28th Street Diner, all £ 60,000 of it, is moving to Muskegon

With its chrome-plated bar stools, pink interior and curved windows, the diner is a time capsule back to the 1950s.

“Pal’s is just symbolic of trying to shape the future and fuse old and new,” said Campbell.

A crew of six from Great Lakes Heavy Haul spent approximately two hours Monday morning lifting the diner onto hydraulic jacks and carefully lowering it onto a truck bed. A ruptured suspension airbag delayed the journey by a few hours.

Dale Van Der Schaaf, who leads the project, said there are only five dolly in the country with low-hanging trailer beds outfitted to move a diner this size.

It took another 90 minutes for the truck, sandwiched between “oversized cargo” warnings, to head west on I-96.

This is the second time Pal’s Diner has been picked up and rolled away.

Former owners Sam and Barry Brown transported it across five state lines from New Jersey to Michigan in 1995. Steve Grifhorst, who helped install the diner with Rollaway Movers decades ago, also helped with the move on Monday.

“There was a lot of opposition to moving out of New Jersey. The historical society there wanted to make it a historical landmark, ”Barry Brown told the Grand Rapids Press in 1995.

The Browns ran the nostalgic diner for 22 years, attracting celebrities like Les Paul, hosting classic car nights and even bringing an elephant to the 28th Street parking lot.

Former owners Sam and Barry Brown stand in front of Pal’s Diner in 2009. The legendary diner from the 1950s invited classic car owners to park their vehicles in front of the building and take photos. The new owner Scott Campbell hopes to be able to hold such events again at the new location in Muskegon. (MLive file photo)MLive file photo

It was sold in 2017 and renamed Dan’s Diner. Owner Dan Chudik closed 18 months later due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the business.

“It was a lifelong dream for my family and father,” said Campbell, who was having breakfast at Pal’s Diner. “We are happy that we can keep the diner going.”

The diner’s new home is in front of the Hot Rod Harley-Davidson overlooking Muskegon Lake.

A wall is being torn down to connect the historic diner with a bar opening in the lower area of ​​the dealership. A roof is erected to protect the building from heavy snowfall.

“It will protect the car because the last thing anyone wants is for the roof to collapse,” said Van Der Schaaf.

Campbell plans to fully restore the diner with the name Pal’s Diner, new neon signs, improved metalwork, and replaced wood. Photos of well-known customers, the original booths and jukebox units will also be installed.

“Think of it like restoring a classic car,” said Van Der Schaaf.

Arrived in Muskegon on Monday afternoon, the diner will be set up on its foundation on Tuesday, November 9th.

The restoration work should be completed in spring 2022.

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