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The Broadway Diner Is A Classic Retro Diner

By S. Mathur

Jeff Castree had always known that he wanted to own a breakfast and lunch diner. Among his many ideas was the idea of turning a train dining car into a diner.

"I started by wanting to turn a train car into a diner because of living in Baraboo the home of the Circus World Museum," Castree said. "I would ride my bike past the beautiful circus train cars, and this is how I stumbled upon "Diners" like ours. I love old and retro things so I was hooked."

He found the Broadway Diner, of all places, on the internet. It was built in 1954 by the Paterson Vehicle Company in Paterson, NJ, and operated until 2005 in Groton, Conn. under various names: A & P Diner, Twin Bridge Diner, Bridge Diner and Rosie's Diner. In 2012, Castree and his wife Vonnie bought the diner from a restoration specialist in Cleveland and had it shipped to Baraboo.

The location is conveniently close to the Circus World Museum, Devil's Lake State Park and the Wisconsin Dells. The Broadway Diner doesn't just have a great story and vintage decor, it also serves delicious food. Specialties include the "gourmet hash in a flash", house smoked meats, juicy smash burgers, and decadent pies, cookies and malts and sundaes. There's also an award winning selection of Wisconsin beers and wine.

"I want the food to be fresh, homemade and unique," Castree said. "You can't go wrong with anything using our house smoked pulled pork, we have a lot of unique scrambles and benedicts, our pancakes are the best in town and our chicken tenders are not like others because we use fresh chicken, marinated in buttermilk and hand bread them with each order."

The diner also recreates a friendly atmosphere, where visitors can have real conversations with other diners and the staff.

"Our completely open kitchen concept is like sitting at the kitchen counter and watching your host cook for you," Castree said. "We hope they feel like they are in our home and we are part of the family. We have so many regulars that our staff knows them by name and usually knows just how they like things."

Castree and his wife work as a team to keep the operation running smoothly and moving forward. Just one year after opening the diner, they added a catering service, which also uses the same locally sourced foods as the diner. The Broadway Diner is the kind of place that diner aficionados dream of finding. Finding it in Wisconsin, rather than the east coast, is a special pleasure.

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