HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Jerry Grubb cares so deeply about the future of his former diner that he is offering to give away the 1950s-style restaurant for free.
He has only one stipulation: The new owner must move it and reopen it.
"These types of diners are really making a comeback, and I'm surprised no one locally wants it," Grubb said. "It's an excellent piece, and you can't get them much cheaper."
Locals called it the end of an era when Grubb's Diner shut its doors last year to make way for a pharmacy. Grubb, the manager and cook for 52 years, decided it was time to hang up his spatula, but he didn't have the heart to demolish the restaurant.
Instead, he dismantled it and paid a moving company to haul the 68-foot-long silver diner a mile up the road from its original location in the central Pennsylvania town of Huntingdon. It now sits on two flatbed trailers, empty except for the original light fixtures, booths and bar.
The diner was recently appraised for $100,000, but Grubb said he is willing to negotiate a lower price or donate it to the right person. Grubb bought the diner in 1964 from the Swingle Diner Co. in Middlesex, N.J.
In an ideal world, someone would reopen it in Huntingdon and bring back the 15-cent pie slice, said Barb Blair, a longtime Grubb family employee.
"People came here from all over," she said. "Jerry's mother would make the pies, and people flocked here because they were that good."