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Rosie's Diner at its Michigan location. Stephanie Clifford. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Iconic New Jersey diner finds new life in rural Missouri

A beloved roadside diner is coming to central Missouri. Rosie’s Diner, which gained national fame as the setting for a series of paper towel commercials in the 1970s and later was moved to Michigan, has been sold to a Missouri couple who plan to restore it to its past glory.

With its classic look, stainless-steel interior, Formica countertops and importantly, enough room to fit a camera crew, it was featured in dozens of ads and films, most famously, Procter & Gamble’s long-running commercials for Bounty, “the quicker picker-upper. Rosie’s was sold to an artist and diner aficionado and moved to Michigan but eventually closed a decade ago.

Dawn and Chuck Perry, of Millersburg, Mo., were looking to build a diner in their hometown when someone suggested they buy a “real diner, with history,” instead. “Next thing you know, we find out Rosie’s is for sale,” Chuck Perry told the “Bergen Record.”. “It’s the most iconic diner. It was meant to be.”

Millersburg is just south of I-70 between Columbia and Kingdom City.

The couple plans to split the diner in two, load it on a pair of flatbed trucks and haul it almost 600 miles to the small community just south of Interstate 70 sometime this spring.

“I deal in a lot of antique and vintage vehicles, but this is the biggest piece of history I’ve ever played with,” Chuck said. “I’ve got the background and ability to restore the diner. But if it wasn’t bought now and saved, it was almost to the point of not coming back.”

It likely will take several years to restore the dilapidated diner. The couple plans to fundraise through sales of “Save Rosie’s” shirts, mugs and other merchandise.

“It’s one of the coolest diners that was ever built,” said Jerry Berta, who moved Rosie’s to Rockford, Mich., in 1990, where it reopened as the centerpiece of Dinerland USA, a roadside attraction with two other dining cars and a diner-themed miniature golf course for people to play while waiting for a table. “It has a lot of beautiful details you don’t always see. I’m thrilled. This really is a piece of history. I can’t wait to go down and have a burger in Missouri. I wish them the best of luck.”

–Dwight Widaman | MV

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