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click to enlarge BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott

The secret to Kwik Inn's longevity? From behind a cloud of cigarette smoke, Joel Bower says it's simple as a cup of coffee.

"Unless you like that fru-fru coffee you won't find that here," says the 56-year-old.

Now, Security's favorite diner can claim it's provided its coffee and good conversation for 50 years. Last weekend, general manager Cathy Stack-Darling (pictured second from right, with her son, Zane Stack) and her staff celebrated the golden anniversary by decorating the walls with 1950s memorabilia donated by their customers. They imported a jukebox, filled balloons and posted copies of the first menu.

That menu was comprised of four entrees: hamburger steak, fried chicken, deep-fried shrimp and fish and chips, all of which can be ordered today.

"We still have old-timers come in and ask for a brown derby," says Stack-Darling. "The young kids are like, "What is that?'" (It's a dipped ice cream cone.)

In 1956, Kwik Shake, as it was first known, opened near an A&W car-hop and a slew of other family-oriented, locally owned businesses along Main Street. Today, a Sonic, a Walgreens and strip malls dominate the landscape. But that hasn't changed the way Kwik Inn does business.

Stack-Darling, who's been at the diner for 15 years, counts a couple dozen of the restaurant's original customers among her regulars. Owner Matt Boutte allows high-school kids to stay as long as they want, as long as they buy a bottomless, 99-cent cup of coffee. And on Dr. Seuss' birthday each year, cooks serve green eggs and ham to fourth-graders from Widefield Elementary.

Pictured with the Stack-Darlings, from left: Kim Shawell, Paula Beebe, Maryann Torres and Michelle Mestnik.

Kirk Woundy

photo by Bruce Elliott

  • Fast times

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