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Beloved '59er Diner reopens on Stevens Pass after fire

The landmark 59er Diner has reopened on Stevens Pass just in time for the holiday travel season.

If you’ll be crossing Stevens Pass this Thanksgiving, you may have to tell Grandma you already ate dessert.

Two years after it burned down, the milkshakes are flowing once again at the ‘59er Diner.

The landmark diner, located west of Leavenworth on Highway 2, was destroyed two summers ago leaving a hole in the ground — and in the hearts of workers like Jill Pepin who have been here almost 20 years.

"Our kids grew up here. We've watched the community grow," she said, wiping away a tear. "I mean it's been a big part of our lives."

Owner Joe Cannata has operated the '59er for 24 years and said there was never a doubt he would reopen – thanks in great part to the people of his community.

"Watching the building burn was heart-wrenching but all of my tears came in the weeks and months after that, because of the people showering you with love. They were there for us with whatever we needed. They're still here for us today."

Some remnants of the old 50s-style diner remain.

The original wooden sign survived and hangs outside, as did a pink piece of paper marking the day they sold a record 524 milkshakes.

Some of the old photos were salvaged, others have been restored.

"It's funny the things that made it through the fire. There's just enough that it still feels good and it feels like the good old '59er Diner," said Cannata.

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Lunchtime on Monday saw a steady stream of old and new customers walk through the shiny, silver doors. The building itself was constructed in Atlanta and shipped in five pieces to Washington where it was assembled over the past two months.

Cannata said nothing could've stopped him from reopening his beloved business.

"This little spot on Earth is just a special place for a lot of people. It feels like home. It feels like I'm back at home."

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