Diner offers slice of 1950s nostalgia

-A A +A

Business spotlight > Walls decorated with plenty of memorabilia

By Gina Velasquez

The Fabulous 50s Diner prides itself on two things as its motto states, “Good food year round,” and keep it affordable.


General Manager Charlie Bracken strives to build a family oriented business with a reasonably priced menu. It is a “cooked to order” menu that serves breakfast all day long and a special of the week.

There are a wide variety of items, from traditional burgers and hot dogs to enchiladas and chile rellenos.

The diner contains a full soda shop that serves milkshakes, floats, smoothies, banana splits, 28 flavors of ice cream — made by Blue Bell and three non-sugar flavors.

A Build-Your-Own-Burger and Build-Your-Own-Salad bar is loaded with toppings to choose from. Bracken also makes soup from his own personal recipes.

The diner opened under its current name in 2008. Owners Peter and Loretta Olivas have known Bracken for many years. A few years ago, Bracken was working for the original owner, who wanted to return to Texas and sell the business. Bracken and Olivas “put all the cards on the table to make that happen,” Bracken said.

“I am trying to build myself up and prove myself to others in the community,” Bracken said, who has many years of experience in the restaurant business.

The restaurant walls are decorated in movie and music memorabilia, like Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Buddy Holly. The overhead menu dons a feel reminiscent of a time gone by.

“This atmosphere is fun. The era of the 1950s … there is nothing like it. Everyone was so easy going. I want to give the community back some of that nostalgia,” he said.

As well as the posters and diner feel, “oldies” music is played all day long.

The local business uses a bus to cater on a small scale. The bus called the Kaleidowagon serves as a mobile diner at special events like the Gordon’s Summer Concert and the Los Alamos Monitor’s 50-Fest anniversary celebration.

“Community unity is important to support local businesses,” Bracken said. He offers discounts to veterans and senior citizens.

In addition to running the restaurant, he is also a full-time student at the community college in Española. He said that owning his own restaurant was a pipe dream at one time and now is proud to say he is making it happen. He offers jobs to teens and college students during their summer breaks.

“People gave me opportunities, now it is my turn to give opportunities to them,” Bracken said.

The restaurant is located next to the American Legion on Trinity Drive. The diner is closed on Saturdays so the Legion can use the kitchen and dining area for their special events. A fish fry benefit is 5 p.m. Saturday, with live music starting at 7 p.m.

The normal business hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.