Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Real Twin Peaks: The Double-R Diner

Agent Cooper's go-to place for a damn fine cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie still exists, and in fact looks basically like it did in the show. Its real name is now Twede's Cafe, formerly the Mar-T (or T-Mar, depending on who you ask) after an ownership change or two over the years.

Twede's is in North Bend, one of the two main towns that make up the "town" of Twin Peaks.

You will notice the "RR2GO" graphic above - in fact this is one of the few Twin Peaks locations that really embraces its connection to the show.

Some may actually find this off-putting - it's clearly a tourist attraction at this point. We were surprised that that was still the case, 25 years later. But the waitstaff told us they got Twin Peaks fans from all over the world.

BUT - and this is a big BUT - they do have a damn fine cup of coffee and the best cherry pie this side of the Mississippi.

What I'm saying is this is not style over substance - this place delivers in all the ways it's supposed to. Don't listen to those reviews up there - I come from diner country, and this place is great. I even thought my lunch was quite good - it's standard diner food of course, but I loved my pastrami sandwich (I did have to tell them to hold the lettuce and tomato). And THE PIE:

Yes, it really is amazing pie. My wife and I even went to our favorite local bakery after coming back just to make sure, and their pie IN NO WAY COMPARED.

The pilot episode was filmed inside the real Mar-T Cafe, on location as most of the pilot was. Obviously, that meant a lot of traipsing around the Pacific Northwest with heavy equipment, not to mention the framing and lighting challenges that seem obvious above. But if you were to visit the Mar-T Cafe right after the pilot filmed, it would have looked exactly the same as the show inside.

The whole place was pretty much gutted by fire in 2000, and then came back with a more modern blue interior with more seats and a smaller counter. That's what I was expecting on our visit. So I was really happy to see this:

In fact, it's now laid out and styled pretty much just as it originally was, with most of the same decor, right down to the wood paneling. (The wall to wall carpeting is gone, with a floor more of an homage to the later episodes - an understandable tradeoff.) There does seem to be one fewer stool - I'm not sure if the counter is smaller or there's just more space between stools.

This apparently was actually paid for by Showtime specifically for the Twin Peaks reboot. Lucky timing on our part! But it is a permanent remodel.

The Double-R in Twin Peaks was a set in California after the pilot episode, rebuilt there for ease in filming and transport costs, and consequently the diner you see through most of the series - while the actual Mar-T/Twede's Cafe exterior - is actually quite a bit bigger inside. It's styled to look like Twede's, but just keep in mind it is a set, lest you start wondering why certain things don't look quite right ("there are too many booths!" or "there's too much space in front of the jukebox!" or "why don't they ever show the view out the windows?").

We even felt like we got the full waitress experience - I'm sure our particular waitress is probably sick to death of hearing it, but she was a pretty good ringer for Shelly Johnson. Unfortunately the waitstaff no longer wear those 50's style uniforms - they should!

I bought this t-shirt on our way out, the same one you see standing up behind the counter in the photo above:

They have t-shirts in black and green as well, all with different designs. I liked this one the best. Unfortunately it runs a bit small, so it's probably just a souvenir now - wore it once and that's probably it. If only Twede's had a web store, I'd get another one a size up.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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