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Road Island Diner

Burger, onion rings. Anything else from the Road Island Diner in Oakley, Utah?

Burger, onion rings. Anything else from the Road Island Diner in Oakley, Utah?
Photo caption
Burger, onion rings. Anything else from the Road Island Diner in Oakley, Utah?

No shame in bottom-slapping the ketchup bottles here. The Road Island Diner in Oakley, Utah—placed on the National Register of Historic Places seven decades after rolling off the factory floor in Elizabeth, N.J.—serves elastic-waistband fare in an atmosphere that smacks of bygone days.

Keith Walker bought the 16-by-60-foot mobile luncheonette in 2007, trucked it 2,400 miles to a roadside perch an hour east of Salt Lake City, then undertook a renovation that restored the diner to its 1930s grandeur, right down to the hand-laid, multicolored ceramic tiles on the floor.

"Short of a chef with a pack of cigarettes rolled in his T-shirt sleeve," Walker says, "everything is about the same." Outside, neon signage and horizontal stripes in yellow and green porcelain beckon the tired and hungry into a cozy interior gleaming with artfully creased stainless steel. Diners can plop down at the 40-foot-long counter of green Italian mar-ble and order a meat loaf sandwich. "Chattanooga Choo Choo"? Punch A-10 on the jukebox. (435) 783-3467, roadislanddiner.com.

Photography by Andrew Geiger

This article was first published in March 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.