Just last month we posted the news that Groton, Connecticut’s Norm’s Diner was closing. It was mentioned that owner Norm Brochu was looking for someone else to run the place after the previous manager Dan Logan decided not to continue running the diner and concentrate on his other business, Dano’s Pizzeria and Lounge. Well thanks to Bill Waterhouse for sending along the news and link to the article that appeared in yesterdays “TheDay.com” piece on the reopening of this late model Silk City Diner.
After 30 Years Of Waiting Table, She’s New Boss
|By Katie Warchut||Published on 12/8/2008|
Groton – If you’ve ever gone out for a diner-style meal in the area, Brenda Trask is likely a familiar face. She has waitressed for 30 years at The Shack, Bee Bee Dairy, Rosie’s Diner and more – those popular joints where service is fast and friendly, and the food a reliable comfort.
While she was raising her daughter alone, she would work 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at one place, and 3 to 10 p.m. at another. At one point, she even juggled three jobs at a time. She always fantasized about having her own little place, but it wasn’t until now that she has had the chance.
Her husband of six years, Mark Trask, who owns Bremar Construction, gave her the ultimate Christmas present: Norm’s Diner. ”She deserves it,” he said. It will also be a nice gift for Norm’s regulars, who saw the place shuttered a month ago by former manager Dan Logan, owner of Dano’s Pizzeria & Lounge.
Brenda didn’t even know Norm’s existed until she stopped in one day. After inquiring about a job, she likes to joke that she was hired and fired in one day, over a miscommunication between managers. Fortunately, Rose Phelps, sister of owner Annie Brochu, (wife of the diner’s namesake, Norm Brochu) called her back the next day and offered her the job again.
Trask left the job in June, but stayed in touch. So while Logan was planning to shut down Norm’s, Phelps asked if Mark and Brenda were interested in taking over. Since Brenda’s father’s name is Norm, all the parties decided it was meant to be.
The diner didn’t have one piece of silverware when the couple first arrived, but in one month they have replaced a 48-year-old stove, put up walls, painted, remodeled bathrooms and cleaned. Customers have stopped by, excited about the reopening, and some even lent a hand, Brenda said. Her daughter, Holly, who works at Paul’s Pasta, has also helped out.
Neat rows of mini-cereal boxes, mustard, ketchup and Hershey’s chocolate syrup were back Friday, as the Trasks prepared to open today. The menu is generally the same, with some additions, including a tribute to Phelps, the Rose Burger, topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and fried onions.
Mark has loftier goals, planning to reopen the country-western bar next to the diner, though it has been closed longer and needs much more work. The lease the couple signed gives them an option to buy the whole Bridge Street building, which greets drivers entering the City of Groton.
Brenda isn’t worried about the poor economy, because she knows the diner has a strong customer base. ”I’m not here to get rich,” she said. “I’m here to work for myself and give other people jobs.”
The diner will still have a 50s-style, though Brenda hopes some day she can replace the aging booths and other items. Phelps, who has been helping the Trasks reopen, remains proud the diner where she worked for 30 years has outlasted its competition. ”There’s young blood,” she said. “This is the future.”
Brenda, meanwhile, thanked her parents for babysitting during all her years of waitressing. She said she has worked hard all her life and plans to bring that attitude into her new, more daunting, job. But she is excited. ”I miss my customers,” she said.
Also here is the link to the article that has some nice comments.