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How to host a ’50s diner dinner


Whether you remember the 50s fondly or you’re just a fan of Happy Days, poodle skirts and ponytails, and leather jackets and pompadours, harkening back to this bygone era is fun for the whole family. Most of us don’t live near Peggy Sue’s Diner, but you can recreate the fun and nostalgia right in your own kitchen.

50 Days of family fun

From dining room to diner

Diner meal

First, you’ll need to transform your dining room or kitchen table into a ’50s-style diner. If you’re inviting guests and want something a little more fancy, you can rent supplies (even a jukebox) from party supply stores. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, though, especially if you’re just trying to have a fun night with your brood.

If you have a rectangular table, create a diner counter by moving all the chairs or stools to one side. If you have a round or square table, a red and white checkered tablecloth will give you that ’50s diner feel. You can buy diner-style ketchup and mustard squirt bottles and a napkin holder for your table at a restaurant supply store, or use what you have at home.

Before dinner starts, plug in some ’50s tunes for that extra touch. Kid-friendly favorites include Purple People Eater, Wooly Bully, The Name Game and Witch Doctor.

Old-fashioned diner fare

For dinner, serve traditional American burgers or hot dogs (or both) and French fries. It’s quick, easy and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You can make them yourself or pick them up at your favorite burger joint or hotdog stand on the way home. For dessert, serve made-to-order milkshakes, malts or floats.

Get your kids into the spirit by letting them take orders. (Just make sure everyone orders the blue plate special.) Don’t let all the fun stop after dessert, either: Challenge the whole family to a Rock Around the Clock dance-off!

Try a diner-inspired recipe

Favorite hamburgers & fun takes on burgers
Malt recipes
Root beer float cookies

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