Women in Business: Hafer Runs Dean’s Diner Over the Decades | Local News


Dean’s Diner, under the direction of Marilyn Hafer, has been a staple for travelers along Route 22 for decades.

Its classic atmosphere and original dining car, manufactured by Fodero Dining Car Co., was transported to its current location in 1952. Since then, it has long been established as a place to stop and have hearty home-cooked meals .

The restaurant is currently the last surviving restaurant that was part of a group owned by the Dean family. Founder Harry P. Dean, his sons, Emerson and Rodney Dean, his cousin Bill Henning, and later Emerson’s son, Darrell, once owned restaurants in Blairsville, Indiana, Huntington, Forest Hills, and the New Castle.

The very first was opened in 1927 in Indiana. Over the years other diners have followed, but the one on Route 22 is the last one standing.

Darrell took over the property in 1965 after his father’s death and the Dean Estate has owned the restaurant since Darrell’s death in 2003.

Currently, the restaurant is under the management of Hafer, who has held the position of manager for more than 20 years and has seen, even in her working time, several generations of customers and visitors pass through the restaurant.

Hafer also said her years on the job have really made her keep up with Dean.

“I’m not a quitter,” she said of her daily activities at the restaurant. “I have to get things done and keep things together.”

Running a restaurant, especially one as well known and frequented as Dean’s, is no small feat.

Hafer said others looking to get into the business need to recognize the work for what it is.

“It’s a big challenge,” she says. “But, if you have the will to do the job and the will to get things done, then anyone can do it.”

Currently, Hafer faces the challenge of bringing staff members and employees to work.

“It’s a struggle with everyone right now, I think,” she said.

But, as with all challenges, “I take it as it comes,” Hafer said.

For those wondering what to take away from the restaurant’s home cooking menu, Hafer had some recommendations.

“Try our roast sandwiches,” she said. “And definitely try our homemade pies.”

The pies have always been a popular restaurant favorite and are often advertised on the sign that drivers pass as they travel Route 22. The pies are all made from scratch every day at the restaurant. In addition to pies, the restaurant also offers breakfast favorites, as well as lunch and dinner dishes.

Dean’s is open 24 hours a day and peak times can vary depending on meal times, but there’s plenty of space with the addition of a spacious dining room to the side of the dining car. origin. Regular customers and first-time visitors appreciate the friendly atmosphere that is provided not only by the physical building, but also by the employees.

For those local to the area or for those traveling who have never visited Dean’s before, Hafer said to expect a “down to earth place.”

“We’re a small company,” Hafer said. “We are an individual and local restaurant.”


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