CASHMERE — Expect to hear of a few more Elvis and Marilyn sightings in the Cashmere area now that the 59er Diner has moved into Apple Annie’s Antique Gallery.
Joe Cannata, owner of the popular 59er Diner at Coles Corner has opened a second restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Studebaker’s 50’s Diner on Eels Road. The restaurant was closed for six weeks for an extensive remodel to reinvigorate the 1950’s movie and hotrod theme. It opened March 21.
“It was a natural fit,” Cannata, 47, said of his restaurant style and the 110-vendor antique mall under the same massive roof. “I think it will be easy for us to bring business to them and easy for them to bring business to us. It’s a win-win.” Cannata bought the Coles Corner 59er Diner in 2008 from Tom and Doddee Olson. He previously operated a restaurant in Lynnwood. Doddee Olson helped Cannata remodel the Cashmere diner.
Cannata plans to operate the new Cashmere diner in the same upbeat style that has made the Coles Corner diner successful. The menu focuses on burgers, fries, specialty sandwiches, milkshakes, pop and beer. Breakfasts can be ordered all day, from 7 a.m. to 7: 30 p.m. seven days a week. He hopes to add prime rib and other dinner specials in the near future. A long, antique shuffleboard table serves as breakfast buffet table for the Sunday after-church crowd.
The food is fresh and good, he said, but the emphasis is on service and style. All of the waitresses are named Flo, after the popular 1970s sitcom and later a movie featuring sassy truckstop waitresses. The walls are covered with vintage movie posters and paraphenalia. A complete 1950s kitchen surrounds one large table where a family can go back in time while dining on meatloaf sandwiches and chicken fried steak.
Rock ‘n’ roll music plays through the sound system and 1950s movies light up a screen painted to look like a giant old TV. Bathrooms are decorated in Marilyn Monroe (his) and James Dean (hers) themes.
Canata and his wife Kelly have been known to dress up as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe to bring in customers to the Coles Corner diner. They showed up in costume for a recent Cashmere Chamber of Commerce event to do the same for the new diner.
Popular Seattle Elvis impersonator Danny Vernon stopped in at the new Cashmere diner last weekend on his way back from a performance at the Mill Bay Casino. Canatta has had Vernon and other Elvis impersonators perform shows at the Coles Corner diner to raise money for community benefits.
“We’re going to see lots of Elvis and Marilyn here,” he said.
The new diner is only one of several new eating and drinking establishments to take hold in Cashmere. Mile Post 111 opened a restaurant and tavern in the old Cascade Helicopter building on Aplets Way last fall. The Blue Flame Asian Bistro adds to the Casa Grande Mexican restaurant, Weeds coffee shop and Brian’s Bulldog Pizza downtown. Country Boys BBQ is one of the most popular barbecue joints in the region. Several wine and spirit tasting rooms, the Devil’s Gulch Drinkery and another coffee shop have opened along Mission Avenue in recent years. Cannata thinks the competition will help rather than hurt local businesses.
“Cashmere is becoming the spot,” Cannata said. “I think people will start coming here from Wenatchee because they know there’s lots to choose from.”
Rick Steigmeyer: 664-7151