Moondance Diner to open Monday, January 12th
The yellow moon lit up for the first time in Wyoming on New Years's Eve, 2008 with renovations nearly complete. The diner will open to the public on Monday, January 12th.
View of interior
View showing the new Moondance Diner interior, about 2 weeks before opening, during the family New Year's Eve celebration party.
Cheryl and Tanya
Sisters Cheryl Pierce (L) and Tanya Elliott are working together on the Moondance Diner project.
Custom Moondance logo design on the handicap ramp railing was done by metal artist John Dickie of Marbleton.
When the Moondance Diner was rescued in late 2007 it was in a very sad condition. Every effort has been made to preserve as much as possible of the original structure.
Scroll down for more photos.
Famous New York Diner finds new home in LaBarge, Wyoming
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Original post January 10, 2009 | Updated January 20, 2009
The long-awaited opening for the Moondance Diner in LaBarge, Wyoming will be on Monday, January 20th.
Monday – Wednesday/Friday-Saturday: 5:30 am to 8:00 pm
Closed on Thursday and Sunday
(Editor's Note: The hours and days open are subject to change after the time of posting this story. They are still adjusting their schedule somewhat. Be sure to check the Moondance Diner website for the official hours, espcially if you are traveling very far to visit the Moondance, to verify their current schedule: www.historicmoondancediner.com. To call them, phone: 307-386-2103.)
The fun moon menu includes breakfasts with items priced from $3.25 for hot cereal to $8.75 for "Orion’s Biscuits ‘N Gravy". A cup of coffee "Rocket Fuel or Unleaded" is $1.00 including a refill. Lunch fare is available with all items priced under $10, from an "Intergalactic" ham and cheese sandwich for $5.25 to a "Mountain Man" beef patty sandwich for $9.25. You can get a basic burger "Big Dipper" or BLT for a reasonable $6.25. The dinner menu runs from "The Cosmonaut" fried chicken strips for $7.75 to "Stellar Ribeye Steak" for $21.50. Keeping alive the diner tradition for sweet tooth treats, the Moondance Diner Milkyway soda shop offers milkshakes and ice cream sodas for $3.50. The "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" little tummy menu gets kids fed for under $5 a meal.
The famed New York diner found its way to tiny LaBarge when developers bought the property on which it resided and wanted to clear the land for high-rise condominiums. The owners worked with the American Diner Museum to try and find someone who would be willing to purchase the run-down, but historic structure for a low price, on the condition they move it off the New York lot.
Intrigued by the $7500 price tag, and with two family members who drove truck and knew how to haul large loads, Cheryl and Vince bought the diner and brought it 2100 miles to LaBarge, a tiny town of just 431 residents (2007) in western Wyoming, in the fall of 2007. They have spent the time since then relocating the building onto a new foundation, salvaging what they could of the old structure, and incorporating it into a new building framework that can withstand Wyoming’s winds and snow loads.
Originally, the Pierces thought they were just getting an inexpensive hull of a building that they could modify to meet the needs for their own diner plans. Once they purchased the building however, they realized they didn’t just have any building, they had "THE" Moondance Diner, an icon in New York City since the 1920s. The building was located near the Holland Tunnel in the SoHo District. It was featured in a scene in the "Spider Man" movie (MJ worked there as a waitress), as well used in scenes in numerous TV shows and commercials.
Over the years, thousands of people have had a connection to the Moondance Diner while it resided in lower Manhattan. Once this was realized, Cheryl and Vince knew they needed to change their plans. They decided to renovate the diner as closely as they could to an architectural style as it was in the 1980s in a remodel done by architect Alan Buchsbaum. While respecting the old, the new Moondance Diner adds in some Wyoming touches to the mix, bringing new life to the building and launching a whole new chapter to the long, rich history of the Moondance Diner.
Media attention for the Moondance Diner story has been quite a surprise for the Pierce family. New Yorkers have become enchanted with the saga of the diner’s cross-country move to Wyoming and the new life it will have in the tiny western town of LaBarge. People from all over the country have stopped by, called and e-mailed over the past year during the construction to show their support for the new home and life for the Moondance Diner. People wrote notes on the back of the ‘Coming Soon’ sign on the construction site with messages saying, "We’ll be back for coffee when you’re open!" New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent Cheryl and Vince a congratulatory letter in May offering his best wishes for their success. He said the diner was a bridge between New York and Wyoming. Judging from the numerous well-wishes that have come in from so many New Yorkers, the Mayor was right!
This story is one of a young couple fulfilling the American Dream. They aren’t a big corporation with a ton of money to put into the project. They are a young family with two little kids, scraping together what they can to start a new business so they can make a living. They have been dealing with banks that are reluctant to lend money due to the miserable economy, yet they are committed to persevere and do the restoration right so it respects the history and culture of the diner as it was in New York, while still meeting the needs of their Wyoming customers. They have rallied many of their family members, relatives and friends to help on the project along the way. This story seems to have a magical energy about it that captivates the people it touches.
On New Year’s Eve, the icon yellow half moon was installed in its place in the sign at the top of the building and was lit for the first time in its new home in Wyoming. Family and friends gathered inside to celebrate the progress and toast the New Year and new beginnings for the Moondance Diner in LaBarge. They look forward to all the new friends they will make when people visit and the stories they will hear from people who have ties to the Moondance. Most importantly, they look forward to continuing the tradition of serving good food to hungry people and welcoming everyone with Wyoming hospitality. A Grand Opening celebration will be scheduled for a later date to be announced.
Directions to get to the Moondance Diner from New York are simple: Turn west on I-80 and go 2100 miles.
Opening Day at the Moondance Diner Monday, January 12, 2009 (13 photos)
Photos by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online! firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 307-360-7689.
www.HistoricMoondanceDiner.com - Historic Moondance Diner in LaBarge, Wyoming
'One moonwich, orbital fries and a satellite soda' - By Jeff Gearino, Casper Star-Tribune Southwestern Bureau, January 11, 2009
Famed diner could open in early January - By Jeff Gearino, Casper Star-Tribune, December 29, 2008
The Moondance is here! - Pinedale Online, August 17, 2007
The first New Yorkers at the Moondance Diner in LaBarge - Pinedale Online, August 18, 2007
Moonlighting at the Moondance - By Jeff Gearino, Casper Star-Tribune, November 8, 2007
Moondance Diner Update: November 10, 2007 - Pinedale Online, November 10, 2007
LaBarge, Wyoming - Pictures of the town, area info
Mountain Man Country - Area visitor information