Because You Know You’ve Always Wondered…Yermo’s “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” Isn’t Half Bad!

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I’d bet dollars to donuts that there’s nary an Angeleno among us who hasn’t whizzed past Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner on the way to Vegas and wondered whether it really was a good spot to stop for an egg cream or if it was actually a nightmarish, Happy Days-themed hellhole where deformed Yermo locals trapped unfortunate passers by so they could kill them and wear their skin. I’ve personally been telling myself I’d stop and suss out the truth ever since my first trip to Vegas in ’97 but have never been able to persuade myself that greasy diner food and potential kidnapping was worth the 45 minute delay in getting to the slots or getting back home to nurse my hangover. Last week, however, I finally managed to split Vegas early in the morning and without eating, meaning not only did I not have to stress about getting back to LA before rush hour, but I actually had to stop somewhere after Baker to eat anyway. Fate had set me on a course that would land me in a booth at Peggy Sue’s and there was no turning back.

More photos and adventures after the jump…STP61518.JPG

Peggy Sue’s jukebox-themed facade is no great shakes, but at least it’s energetic. The rest of the structure is sorely lacking in 50’s kitsch, though there is a “Dinersaur Park” which sounds grand. We didn’t get to see it. Frankly, the outside of Peggy Sue’s diner is of little interest.

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We sat in the original diner portion, which is about the size of a dining car. There are actually four other dining rooms, but as far as I’m concerned you can just ignore them and either grab a booth in the first room or, even better, belly up to the counter. I was totally expecting an Ed Debevic’s-style 50’s cheese fest, but the period music was playing at a perfectly reasonable volume and nobody was talking in any fake “saucy waitress” voices.

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Some people will complain that I didn’t take enough pictures of quaint, handwritten signage and far-past-their-prime waitresses in too short waitress uniforms. For me, however, the food was the real test. It may look easy, but a real fan of old fashioned American diner food can tell you that there are a surprising number of ways to fuck up a two egg breakfast. Fortunately, Peggy Sue’s has it on motherfunkin’ lockdown. That picture is two of the most perfectly cooked over medium eggs I’ve ever had, next to a pile of buttery—not oily—hash browns and a veritable pile of expertly cooked bacon. None of that two measly slices that are way overcooked business going on here. The thick cut toast was a nice bonus too. Too many places nowadays try to pass off that low grade, thinly sliced sandwich bread as toast and I’m not having it.

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According to this machine at the entrance, “The King Tells All.” Unfortunately, he only drops science for quarters and we’re a card carrying kind of family. But he talks constantly anyway so it’s not like you need to actually cough up the four bits in order to get your Elvis fix. The dude you can see through the glass is pretty representative of the rest of the crowd in the diner. There was a smattering of more diverse people and families coming in from off the highway, but the bulk of the diners seemed like locals, seniors and passing truck drivers.

Once you’re done eating, you can take your receipt into the 5 & Dime for a free piece of candy, but at this point we were about Yermo’d out and it was time to hit the highway, happy to have discovered that Peggy Sue’s is surprisingly worth a visit. And not once did any local mutants try to tie us up or use us for bloodsport!

6 Replies to “Because You Know You’ve Always Wondered…Yermo’s “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” Isn’t Half Bad!”

  1. I am one of those Angelenos who has driven by a hundred times, thought about it, but never stopped. Thinking next time I will have to.

  2. My experience at this diner was very different from yours. I stopped at Peggy Sue’s Diner for breakfast on a road trip from LA to Montana two years ago with two friends. We were a little punch drunk from the early departure time that one of us (not me) insisted upon if we were to make it to Idaho by midnight, so maybe that was in play. I remember the entire PSD breakfast experience being almost completely unbearable. The music at that early hour was equal parts tiresomely predictable and too damn loud. The service was slow. The kitsch was limp and irritating. All of this would have been worth it if the food was good but it was barely acceptable at best. The coffee was weak. The eggs were cold. One of our breakfasts arrived about 5 minutes after the first two were served even though they were all basic eggs dishes. Our favorite part was in leaving, getting away from the gnawing music and knowing we would never return.

    On a lighter note, that evening we had a delicious dinner at a vast steak house outside of Provo, Utah that had nothing but very large tables that seated 8 to 20 people. We were a tad early for dinner, around 5 PM, so the place was spookily empty, made all the more apparent by the large, vacant tables and the fact that there were 3 of us seated at a table for 8.

    I know Mormons are currently the new pariahs of us gay marriage proponents, but back then we regarded them as merely another sect of garden variety religious nuts that are fairly commonplace in any number of shit bucket states across this great land. We joked (quietly) among ourselves about the large tables being for the numerous wives and offspring of the Mormon menfolk as they shepherded their brood into the sprawling room for a meal. Our waitress visibly blanched when my female friend responded to her informing us that they were out of a particular menu item by saying, “Oh, god damn it; then I guess I’ll just have the rib-eye.”

    When the waitress returned with our food, my friend apologized to her for cursing when she ordered. The waitress forced a stiff little smile and responded, “Can I get you anything else?”

    Here’s the thing: The meal was delicious, Peggy Sue’s Diner was long forgotten and our faith in road food was restored.

  3. Interesting, Chal. We were there in the off time between breakfast and lunch, so that may may’ve made a difference. Our service was good, if not bubbly, and the food came out fast. In fact, I even commented to the waitress about how quickly our food arrived.

  4. I stopped there about 9 years ago right before closing.We were the only ones in there and they used that fake vaccumm broom pushy thingy, only under our table, while we were eating. My fellow travelers and i were at a complete loss and compared it to an episode of Twin Peaks.

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